PROFILE: OLYMPIACOS’ OPPONENT...BESIKTAS
AGONAsport.com breaks down Olympiacos’ opponent, Besiktas, in the UEFA Europa League Round of 16.
Background: Besiktas is the oldest sports club in Turkey, formed in 1903, and is based out of Istanbul (Konstantinoupoli), Turkey. They are considered one of Turkey’s “big three” and most successful clubs along with Fenerbahce and Galatasaray. They have never been relegated to the Turkish second division. The team’s colors were red and white, however red was changed to black which symbolized the mourning of Turkey’s territorial losses in the Balkans during the Balkan Wars
Stadium: Their home ground was the BJK Inonu Stadium but in April 2016, the club moved to its new stadium, the Vodafone Arena which seats 41,900 people. It is the only stadium in the world that overlooks two continents, Asia and Europe.
How They Got Here (Champions League): As Turkish Superlig champions last season, Besiktas began their European season in the UEFA Champions League group stages where they finished third behind Benfica and Napoli and ahead of Dynamo Kiev. They had an opportunity to claim second place in the group on the final matchday, but where embarassed to a 6-0 defeated by Dynamo Kiev and were demoted to the Europa League. In group play, they recorded one win (2-3 away to Napoli), four draws (home/away Benfica, home to Dynamo Kiev and Napoli), and one loss (away to Dynamo Kiev).
How They Got Here (Europa League): In the Europa League Round of 32, they drew Hapoel Be’er Sheva from Israel, who eliminated Olympiacos in Champions League qualifying earlier this season. The Turkish club was victorious in both legs (1-3 in Israel, 2-1 in Turkey) to clinch their place in the Last 16 of the competition.
League Standings: Last year Besiktas won the Turkish Super Lig and are currently 1st in this year’s league standings (14-2-5) with 47 points, four ahead of second placed Istanbul Basaksehir..
Coach: Senol Gunes
Players to Note: Anderson Talisca, Cenk Tosun, Vincent Aboubakar, Ricardo Quaresma. Their roster has an estimated worth close to €130 Million.
Prior History with Olympiacos: The two teams have never met in an official match. In 2015, Olympiacos defeated Besiktas 2-1 in a preseason friendly and earlier this season Besiktas defeated the Erythrolefki 1-0 in Turkey in what was an extremely difficult start to the season for Olympiacos (eliminated by Hapoel Be’er Sheva in Champions League qualifying). Besiktas did face Asteras Tripolis in the Europa League group stages two years ago where both home and away fixtures ended in a draw.
Fixtures: Olympiacos will host Besiktas on March 9th at the Karaiskakis Stadium for the first leg (3:05 PM, EST) and the return fixture will be held one week later in Turkey on Thursday, March 16th (2:00 PM, EST).