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Bursaspor make breakthrough

Published: Wednesday 8 September 2010, 16.13CET
New faces: Bursaspor surprisingly won the Turkish title for the first time in their history last season, beating the likes of Fenerbahçe SK, Galatasaray AŞ, Beşiktaş JK and Trabzonspor AŞ.
by Türker Tozar
from Istanbul
Bursaspor make breakthrough
Bursaspor took their first Turkish title in dramatic style last May ©Getty Images
 
 
 
Published: Wednesday 8 September 2010, 16.13CET

Bursaspor make breakthrough

New faces: Bursaspor surprisingly won the Turkish title for the first time in their history last season, beating the likes of Fenerbahçe SK, Galatasaray AŞ, Beşiktaş JK and Trabzonspor AŞ.

Bursaspor's reward for their maiden Turkish title was to be one of six debutants in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League group stage and UEFA.com takes a look at Ertuğrul Sağlam's side.

Who are they?
Formed: 1963
Nickname: Yeşil Timsahlar (The Green Crocs)
League titles: 1
Turkish Cup: 1

Bursaspor overhauled Fenerbahçe SK on the final day of last season to become the first side from outside Istanbul to win the Turkish title since Trabzonspor AŞ's 1984 success. Despite being one of the clubs with the most Super League experience, their only previous silverware had been a 1986 Turkish Cup triumph that earned one of their two UEFA Cup Winners' Cup campaigns, the club having previously reached the 1974/75 quarter-finals. Sağlam's appointment in January 2009 transformed their fortunes, going close to a UEFA Europa League spot that season with a mix of youth and experience, all with a hunger for success.

Now they are in the senior club competition against Manchester United FC, Valencia CF and Rangers FC and have strengthened their squad. Argentinian trio Federico Insúa, Leonel Nuñez and Damien Steinert plus Serbian defender Milan Stepanov, formerly of Trabzonspor, have added to Turkish internationals Sercan Yıldırım, Volkan Şen and Ozan İpek. The club's fantastic supporters should also make their mark.

One to watch
Federico Insúa, 30, midfielder
The experienced Argentinian playmaker is Bursaspor's key summer signing and is set to assume a leading role. Most of his career has been spent in his homeland, winning titles with CA Independiente and CA Boca Juniors as well as 14 caps, also gaining European experience with Málaga CF in 2003/04 and VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach three years later. He missed pre-season with an ankle injury but Bursaspor fans have invested huge expectations in him.

Memorable match
Bursaspor 2-1 Beşiktaş JK, Turkish Super League, 16 May 2010
Bursaspor began the day a point adrift of Fenerbahçe but dominated against Beşiktaş, going two up after Pablo Batalla's strike was followed by an İbrahim Toraman own goal. Beşiktaş pulled one back but Bursaspor held on and news then came through that Fenerbahçe had been held 1-1 at home by Trabzonspor.

Greatest player
Sedat Özden
Having served Bursaspor between 1973 and 1986, Sedat Özden's name is forever linked to the club. The midfielder spent his entire senior career with the Green Crocs, making 335 league appearances and scoring 56 goals. He also won 34 caps for Turkey, scoring seven goals, an impressive record for someone from outside the top teams at a time when the national side did not play many games. Indeed, he captained Turkey three times, including at Wembley in 1985, the year before he skippered Bursaspor to Turkish Cup victory and retired.

Did you know?
Bursaspor's trademark 'crocodile walk' goal celebration was invented by Ugandan forward Majid Musisi during the UEFA Intertoto Cup match against German side Karlsruher SC on 2 August 1995. Musisi, who played for the club between 1994 and 1997, passed away on 13 December 2005 at the age of 38.

Last updated: 09/09/10 10.54CET

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