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Beşiktaş vow to show true ability

Having to overcome Olympique de Marseille to keep their campaign alive would be tough enough for Beşiktaş JK if they were not coming off a record defeat.

Having to beat Olympique de Marseille to keep alive their UEFA Champions League challenge would be tough enough for Beşiktaş JK, were they not coming off the heaviest defeat in the competition's history.

Record loss
The 8-0 reverse at Liverpool FC on Matchday 4 seriously dented the Turkish team's hopes as well as their pride – while Marseille fell from first place with a 2-1 loss at FC Porto, so a win in Istanbul will not necessarily secure the French club's progress with a game to spare. Marseille do at least look confident though, with their Ligue 1 form boosted by victories over Olympique Lyonnais and FC Metz either side of the international break.

Still hopeful
Not that home coach Ertuğrul Sağlam has given up on Group A's bottom team. "We still have a chance in the group," he said. "If we can take three points, our hopes will stay alive until our last game at Porto. All of us are very conscious about the importance of the Marseille game. We have to take our quality on to the pitch on Wednesday."

Injured defenders
Sağlam is without injured defenders Serdar Kurtuluş, Lamine Diatta, Gökhan Zan and İbrahim Kaş, in addition to winger Mehmet Yozgatlı – yet still ended a three-match winless run in the Turkish Süper Lig with Saturday's 1-0 triumph at Gençlerbirligi Oftasspor. The coach also knows all about Marseille boss Erik Gerets from their encounters over the last two seasons when they were in charge of Kayserispor and Galatasaray AS respectively.

Gerets edge
Gerets had the better of those meetings, with four wins and a draw, and Sağlam admires what his opposite number has done since moving to France. "Under the management of Gerets, who I respect and like very much, they have discarded some star players and put them on the bench. It's Gerets' choice and, I have to admit, they still have a respectable squad." Turning back to his own side, he added: "I believe in my players but they have to play to their potential because we have to win."

Marseille's coach, meanwhile, is dreaming of taking the French club past the group stage for the first time since the heady days of their tournament victory in 1992/93. "If we win, we will probably qualify for the next round," Gerets said. "We want to finish the group in front of Liverpool and in order to do so, we have to get a good result in Istanbul." It is not only against Sağlam that Gerets has a good record from his previous job, as he gained three wins in four derbies against the Black Eagles. "Just like Fenerbahçe [SK] and Galatasaray, Beşiktaş are a strong team," the Belgian said. "But more important is how we concentrate and perform."

Midfielder Lorik Cana is fit again after knee trouble and the captain is optimistic that team spirit can see OM through in the fervent Istanbul atmosphere. "We know Beşiktaş want a victory to keep their hopes alive but we can count on each other very much," said Cana. "We have a strong team, although that obviously doesn't mean we will win every game."