Champions League 2015/16 profiles: Galatasaray
Galatasaray are an interesting prospect for this season in the Champions League, following an active summer. At 11/10 with Coral to qualify from Group C, they are definite dark horses and more than capable of taking points off the other teams.
Domestic League: Turkish Super Lig
How they qualified: By holding off major rivals Fenerbahce, they won the league by three points to go into the draw for the Champions League group stage.
Best Champions League era performance: Undoubtedly, one of the best performances was the first leg of the quarter-final in the 2000/01 edition of the competition. Drawing Real Madrid at home, they were 2-0 down at half time, before a sensational second half comeback, with goals from Umit Davala, Hasan Sas and Mario Jardel.
Despite this victory, Los Blancos were too strong for them in the second leg, going onto beat them 3-0 at the Bernabeu.
Coach: Former captain of the club Hamza Hamzaoglu is now shouting orders from the touchline and after signing with the club on November 2014 led them to the league title.
Ins and outs: Keeping hold of striker Burak Yilmaz will prove key to the club’s season, who was the subject of attention from West Ham in the last week of the transfer window. Lukasz Podolski, though, completed his permanent move to the Turkish club.
Although they brought in Kevin Grosskreutz from Borussia Dortmund, a delay in the required paperwork being delivered means that he cannot play until January.
Familiar faces: Viewers will recognise former Arsenal forward Podolski, who has a plethora of Champions League experience and is also a World Cup winner with Germany. Ex-Reading man Jem Karacan may also catch the eye, while centre back Jason Denayer is on loan from Manchester City.
Key player: Although Podolski and Yilmaz will be key for goals, the man that makes them tick is Wesley Sneijder, who won the competition with Inter Milan. He is also a set-piece specialist and has an eye for the spectacular.
Ones to watch: You can’t really look past attacking trio Podolski, Yilmaz and Sneijder and it would be foolish to suggest otherwise, though keep an eye out for the versatile Hamit Altintop, who is a useful firefighter.
Emerging talent: In Jose Rodriguez Martinez, Galatasaray have a one sensational prodigy on their hands. Having signed from Real Madrid this summer, relatively under the radar, the 20-year-old midfielder has a great future.
CL group and fixtures:
V Atletico Madrid (Home), September 15th
V Astana (Away), September 30th
V Benfica (Home), October 21st
V Benfica (Away), November 3rd
V Atletico Madrid (Away), November 25th
V Astana (Home), December 8th