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Süper Lig

Europe's most exciting finale: Why the Turkish Super Lig is set for a thrilling end

14:00 GMT+4 04/05/2018
Roberto Soldado Galatasaray Fenerbahce
Galatasaray, Basaksehir, Fenerbahce and Besiktas are all vying for the title within four points with three games to play

It’s gotten to that point of the season. Every title is decided, you’re waiting on the Champions League final and maybe keeping an eye on each country's domestic cups. But most of Europe's leagues are long since wrapped up.

There is one title race that has slipped under the radar of everyone though. The Turkish Super Lig is heading into its last three games with four teams separated by only four points.

There is so much more to play for here than just a league title though. The financial future of Galatasaray could be at stake as they took a huge financial gamble at the end of the season having sold a lot of the clubs assets in order to rebuild the squad. Gala broke FFP rules in 2016 and were consequently slapped with a two-year ban from European competitions.

That ban expires this year but, if Galatasaray don’t want to breach FFP again, the Champions League revenue is crucial after spending £37 million this summer. In Turkey, only the league winners progress to the group stages of the competition automatically.

Basaksehir, who are bankrolled by controversial Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, are currently in second place, behind Galatasaray by just a point.

Erdogan has enabled the club to sign some huge names as they try to break the monopoly that the big three Turkish clubs have on the league. Emmanuel Adebayor, Gael Clichy and Arda Turan are among the stars signed in the past year.

But whereas their fellow Istanbul rivals Galatasaray and Fenerbahce can boast attendances of over 50,000 at their stadiums, Basaksehir average fewer than 10,000 fans each week.

Fenerbahce sit just three points behind Gala and, of course, they would love nothing more than to pip their great rivals to the league title. Fenerbahce only need one slip up from Galatasaray and Basaksehir and the title would be theirs to lose.

Pos Teams Matches GD Pts
1 Galatasaray 31 +38 66
2 Basaksehir 31 +25 65
3 Fenerbahce 31 +33 63
4 Besiktas 31 +32 62

Besiktas have underperformed this season following a pre-season recruitment drive that set them up as favourites, including Real Madrid defender Pepe, Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo and Netherlands winger Jermain Lens

They’re still only four points off the top of the table but they would need all their title rivals to drop points - and Galatasaray drop points twice - if they were to win the league this season.

All four teams have got remaining games against similar levels of opposition but there are some huge matches to look out for where the top sides could slip up.

GW Galatasaray Basaksehir Fenerbahce Besiktas
32 Akhisarspor (a) Sivasspor (h) Bursaspor (h) Kayserispor (h)
33 Y. Malatyaspor (h) Antalyaspor (a) Karabukspor (a) Osmanlispor (a)
34 Goztepe (a) Kasimpasa (h) Konyaspor (h) Sivasspor (h)

The biggest fixture to keep an eye on will be Basaksehir vs Sivasspor. Players such as former Brazil international Robinho, ex-Everton striker Arouna Kone and on-loan Newcastle midfielder Henri Saivet could all be the key to derailing their hosts' title challenge.

Another game to look out for is Fenerbahce vs Konyaspor on the final day of the season, May 20. Konyaspor are fighting for their lives at the foot of the Super Lig and have hit some form, losing only one of their last five games.

Konyaspor also boast a team that have every chance of upsetting Fenerbahce, with Barca legend Samuel Eto’o and Macedonian forward Adis Jahovic in the squad. Jahovic has hit 19 goals in 30 appearances in the league this season and he could easily ruin Fenerbahce’s season.

A potential banana skin could be when Besiktas host Kayserispor this weekend. Kayserispor have two of the best strikers in the league with Umut Bulut, who has 14 goals this season, and Ghana legend Asamoah Gyan lining up for them.

On paper, Galatasaray have the easiest run-in, but football isn’t played on paper. There is so much to play for and so many teams breathing down each others' necks. The pressure will be on for each of these four sides and, with three games to go, there are still a lot of shocks and thrills still to play out.