As we enter the final weeks of the football season, titles in England and France are all but decided, Napoli have won Serie A after 33 years, Barcelona has La Liga in their grasp, and Bayern Munich are leading the Bundesliga once again.
Not that exciting a finish at the top of the leagues if truth be told, unless you’re in Turkiye.
Here’s a look at the remaining fixtures…
It is less and less common for the “Big 3” of Turkish football to find themselves in a fierce battle at the top of the table.
A couple of years ago, Besiktas ended up winning the title on goal difference from Galatasaray, with Fenerbahce two points adrift (way to contradict yourself), however, the the time before that was in the 2014/15 season.
Unfortunately, what should be a fun end to the season has been full of bickering and drama since the start of the season, which has only become more absurd after the earthquakes forced two teams to drop out of the league.
Fenerbahce complained about how the league have been protecting Galatasaray since day one, accusing the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) and the Central Referee Board (MHK) of being biased.
Subsequently, the chairman of the MHK quit.
His replacement was Lale Orta, believed to be a Fenerbahce or Besiktas fan. In other words, she definitely doesn’t support Galatasaray.
Since her appointment, Lale Orta has been linked with scandal after scandal. One example is that she suspended one of her staff for giving a poor score to a match official in their report. She rang that member of staff and told him to change the rating, which he didn’t.
She has also contacted the media regarding footage of certain match incidents, and even tried to manipulate VAR decisions. Every act is a calculated one, full of excuses.
Press conferences galore
Fenerbahce chairman, Ali Koc, speaks to the media 2-3 times every week. Koc keeps threatening Galatasaray board members with legal action, and talking of how Galatasaray are cheating.
Coincidentally, earlier on in the season, Barcelona Chairman, Joan Laporta, named Fenerbahce amongst a number of teams that had been match-fixing this season, which they have been penalised for doing so in the past.
Since the return of the league following the earthquakes in February, Besiktas have been in great form. This has resulted in them getting closer to the top, and their chairman, Ahmet Nur Çelebi, triting the same topic over and over again like a broken record.
His gripe is that Gaziantep F.K., and Hatayspor having to drop out has benefited their rivals because Besiktas had already played them away from home. His latest suggestion is for Fenerbahce and Galatasaray to select two home games they’ve got remaining, and play them away – a true reflection of the level of stupidity that reigns supreme in Turkish football.
While all of this was going on, Galatasaray went on a run of 14 wins in a row to take top spot. Prior to that, Galatasaray found it difficult to string any results together.
The arrival of Mauro Icardi, and the consistency achieved by the likes of Dries Mertens, Lucas Torreira, and Serge Oliviera, made the most successful team in Turkish football unstoppable.
“Games aren’t won on the pitch”
The number of fines and match bans for directors and coaches have been outrageous.
In the earlier parts of the season, Galatasaray coach was also complaining about officiating, and got banned game after game, yet inconsistencies exist here, too.
Jorge Jesus, Fenerbahce’s Portuguese coach, stated that, “the games aren’t won on the pitch, and the league has no sporting value”, for which he got no punishment. Jesus’ words were very blunt, and went further than anything said by any of the other managers.
Is this a sign that the TFF and MHK agree that they are corrupt?
Their actions suggest so…
Jesus also complained about having to play his games after Galatasaray – so the fixtures got switched – and the red cards his team were being given. Yet, he never once mentioned the penalty count for the season.
Fenerbahce have had 21 penalties in all competitions – 17 in the league – which is more than Galatasaray (11) and Besiktas (7) combined.
Revenge for 2012?
Losing a derby game is never great. Seeing your rival win the league is even worse. Now, imagine losing a title decider at home to your rival; an experience Fenerbahce had in 2012.
The game finished 0-0, leaving the home fans devastated at the sight of Galatasaray staff and players jumping for joy in their stadium.
No surprise that the home team turned off the lights and went home before the Galatasaray captain was handed the trophy. Thankfully, the camera lights were working, which made for amazing photographs.
The trophy presentation took place.
Since that day, Fenerbahce have won a single title, in 2013/14. Their fans are reminded of their demise weekly by rival supporters.
In the meantime, Galatasaray and Besiktas have won three titles each, and Trabzonspor and Istanbul BB have won one apiece.
This season has the potential to not only end their wait for a title, but to also get revenge for 2012.
Depending on how the results go, we may have a title decider at Galatasaray’s Turk Telekom Arena.
Who will win?
As the Turkish Super League has had a history of corruption, the dead-heat rules got adjusted over a decade ago, to head-to-head (H2H) games.
1. H2H points
2. H2H Goal Difference
3. H2H Goals Scored
4. General Goal Difference
5. General Goal Scored
6. Whether or not a team has forfeited a game
7. Deciding game(s) amongst the teams involved arranged by the TFF
H2h Results this season
Besiktas 0-0 Fenerbahce
Galatasaray 2-1 Besiktas
Fenerbahce 0-3 Galatasaray
Fenerbahce 2-4 Besiktas
Besiktas 3-1 Galatasaray
Galatasaray ?-? Fenerbahce
So, who will win the league…?
Like it has been for the last month or two, it’s Galatasarays to lose.
Besiktas will inevitably keep moaning about how they have been unfairly treated, when in fact they just got unlucky.
Fenerbahce are very inconsistent and for the last month, have been winning games late into injury time.
As I type this article they are drawing 1-1 at Giresunspor with 75′ gone in the game…aka penalty pending time…well, a second penalty in this case as they already scored from one…
I stopped thinking or typing, and watched the end of the game…1-1 it is…and the fans start chanting “Fener don’t cry” …
So, all Galatasaray has to do is win a few games to claim their 23rd title, which sounds easier than done. Especially when you consider everything that is happening, or could happen.
After all, maybe the games aren’t won on the pitch, because if it was, Galatasaray would have been crowned Champions already!