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Season review: Turkey

Published: Tuesday 9 June 2009, 14.54CET
The 2008/09 Turkish season lived up to expectations in terms of drama with Beşiktaş JK claiming a domestic double while Sivasspor denied Fenerbahçe SK and Galatasaray AŞ a UEFA Champions League slot.
by Türker Tozar
from Istanbul
Season review: Turkey
Beşiktaş were head and shoulders above their Turkish rivals this season ©Getty Images
Published: Tuesday 9 June 2009, 14.54CET

Season review: Turkey

The 2008/09 Turkish season lived up to expectations in terms of drama with Beşiktaş JK claiming a domestic double while Sivasspor denied Fenerbahçe SK and Galatasaray AŞ a UEFA Champions League slot.

The 2008/09 Turkish season lived up to expectations in terms of drama with Beşiktaş JK claiming a domestic double while Sivasspor denied Fenerbahçe SK and Galatasaray AŞ a UEFA Champions League slot. Konyaspor, Kocaelispor and Hacettepe SK were relegated.

Champions: Beşiktaş JK
Although Istanbul rivals Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray were off the pace this term, credit is nonetheless due to Beşiktaş, with the Black Eagles taking full advantage to pick up their 13th league title. Sivasspor and Trabzonspor were to finish in the two positions below them, and while the race was a tight one for long periods, Mustafa Denizli's side ended up five points clear at the top.

Cup final: Beşiktaş JK 4–2 Fenerbahçe SK
Beşiktaş enjoyed their third cup triumph in four years, with veteran midfielder Yusuf Şimşek giving them the lead six minutes into the final, though Daniel Güiza equalised on 27 minutes. Bobô struck twice after the break and Slovakian Filip Hološko was on target too, with Alex's last-minute penalty no more than a consolation for Fenerbahçe. "If we had just been a little more careful, the score would have been higher for us," said Denizli.

European places
Beşiktaş – UEFA Champions League group stage
Sivasspor – UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
Trabzonspor – UEFA Europa League play-off round
Fenerbahçe – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
Galatasaray – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round

Player of the Year: Fábio Bilica (Sivasspor)
A solid defender, the Brazilian is a firm favourite at Sivasspor following his first season at the club. Brilliant at tackling and intercepting, he was an ever-present for the Anatolian side in the league and the 30-year-old takes great credit for his team conceding just 28 goals – a total second only to that of goal-shy Kayserispor.

One to watch: Sercan Yıldırım (Bursaspor)
The 19-year-old's eleven goals for Bursaspor represents almost a quarter of their haul for the season, and he might have scored more were it not for his regular commitments with Turkey's Under-19 squad. Scouts from the English Premier League are already said to be tracking his progress.

Surprise package: Sivasspor
Despite a modest squad and a limited budget, Sivasspor improved on their fourth-placed finish from last season, with charismatic coach Bülent Uygun delighting in upsetting the big clubs. Top of the table for 17 rounds, defeats against Gaziantepspor and İstanbul BB – and perhaps Uygun's inexperience – cost them the title, but a first tilt at the UEFA Champions League represents a massive consolation prize.

Leading scorer: Milan Baroš, Galatasaray AŞ (20)

Number: 38
The number of coaches who worked at the 18 Süper Lig clubs this season.

Quote
"We cannot consider dropping points. I promise you that if we win all our four remaining games, we will be champions. If we win those games and don't win the title, I will quit coaching forever."
Beşiktaş coach Mustafa Denizli's team talk, at a stage when his side were a point adrift of leaders Sivasspor with four games to play.

Last updated: 17/06/09 16.01CET

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