Though Trabzonspor AŞ's early qualification for the UEFA Europa League round of 32 owes plenty to collective effort, there is one particular individual success that deserves special recognition.
Trabzonspor's 4-2 win against Apollon Limassol FC on matchday five secured the Turkish club's progress from Group J and extended their unbeaten record in this season's competition to 11 games, qualifying included. The Apollon victory relied heavily on the exploits of Olcan Adın, who struck a hat-trick to take his UEFA Europa League tally to five for the campaign, making him joint-leading scorer alongside Jermain Defoe of Tottenham Hotspur FC. His hat-trick was the first ever treble from a Trabzonspor player in Europe.
"Scoring three goals was a reward for me," said Olcan. "But we don't lose home matches, and we play in the Europa League with a different kind of focus.
Our aim is to finish top of the group by beating in SS Lazio in Italy."
Deployed on the right wing last Thursday, Olcan is also capable of filling in at full-back. His treble against Apollon was all the more remarkable for the restrained celebrations that followed. "Olcan is a player with plenty of character," said Trabzonspor coach Mustafa Akçay. "I think his behaviour is a sign of respect towards the opposition. He is currently one of our players right at the forefront of Turkish football and we are proud when national team boss Fatih Terim decides to pick them."
Particularly impressive is Olcan's feat of having lasted the full 90 minutes in all 24 of Trabzonspor's fixtures this term. It marks a striking rise for the 28-year-old, who started his professional career with third-tier Kartalspor in 2002. Fenerbahçe SK soon spotted his potential and he spent five years with the Istanbul heavyweights, though he struggled for opportunities.
Loan spells at Antalyaspor and Karşıyaka softened the blow of being largely overlooked, before a transfer to Gaziantepspor in summer 2008. He moved on to Trabzonspor in January 2012 and has since shone as a menacing winger who frequently threatens by cutting inside. International recognition has so far been limited, but two appearances in October – his first Turkey caps since his debut early last year – suggest Terim is sitting up and taking notice as much as the rest of Europe.
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