Return to Play: UEFA is preparing for the safe return of its elite competitions.

Learn more >

Hamzaoğlu tips Galatasaray to beat Benfica

Hamza Hamzaoğlu has been engaging in mind games, naming Galatasaray's starting XI and claiming the favourites' tag from a Benfica side bidding for their best start to a group stage.

Lionel Carole in training
Lionel Carole in training ©AFP/Getty Images
  • Galatasaray boss Hamza Hamzaoğlu takes unusual step of naming his starting XI
  • Hosts have not won in their last ten European fixtures
  • Benfica aiming to win their first three group matches for the first time
  • Burak Yılmaz, back after a month on the sidelines, set for place on the bench
  • Benfica have not won in four previous trips to Turkey

Possible lineup
Galatasaray: Muslera; Sabri Sarıoğlu, Chedjou, Hakan Balta, Carole; Selçuk İnan, Bilal Kısa; Yasin Öztekin, Sneijder, Podolski; Umut Bulut.
Out: Hamit Altıntop (knee)
Doubtful: Denayer (knee), Burak Yılmaz (hamstring)

Benfica: Júlio César; Sílvio, Luisão, Jardel, Eliseu; Gonçalo Guedes, André Almeida, Samaris, Gaitán; Jonas, Raúl Jiménez.
Out: Nuno Santos (knee), Nélson Semedo (knee)

Hamza Hamzaoğlu, Galatasaray coach
I reckon we're favourites. I believe we can mirror our positive run in the Super League in the UEFA Champions League. Many think that finishing third in the group and transferring to the UEFA Europa League is a more realistic aim for Galatasaray but for me we have to continue in the Champions League.

The squad is already shaped in my mind. Our starters will be Muslera, Sabri Sarıoğlu, Chedjou, Hakan Balta, Carole, Bilal Kısa, Selçuk İnan, Sneijder, Podolski, Yasin Öztekin and Umut Bulut. Umut has always been good. He is just a little bit unlucky in front of goal.

What Galatasaray's home support means
What Galatasaray's home support means

There will be times when we play with two strikers but tomorrow's game is not one of them.

Rui Vitória, Benfica coach
In terms of the quality of the current team and the club's reputation, we are up against very strong opponents. We respect them but will do our utmost to come home with a win.

People that know my philosophy also know that I don't like making radical changes to my squad. I don't intend to make big changes to the team, but every match demands a different strategy. I can say that you won't see big changes.

We are used to playing games at this level in front of lively crowds. Once you are on the pitch, you are only up against 11 players, so I don't believe the atmosphere will give us additional difficulties.

©Getty Images

Weekend results
Galatasaray 4-1 Gençlerbirliği (Bilal Kısa 49, Chedjou 53, Öztekin 67, Burak 87pen; El Kabir 37)
Galatasaray overcame a 1-0 half-time deficit as Bilal Kısa equalised and Aurélien Chedjou and Yasin Öztekin scored before Burak Yılmaz, back after a month out through injury, came off the bench in the 84th minute and quickly converted a penalty.

Vianense 1-2 Benfica (Coulibaly 79; Carcela-González 38, Jardel 90)
Jardel struck a late winner on Friday to take a below-strength Benfica past their third-tier opponents and into the Portuguese Cup last 32. Mehdi Carcela-González had given Benfica a half-time lead but Mohamed Coulibaly's superb shot into the top corner from distance levelled with 12 minutes left.

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Galatasaray: WWDWWL
Benfica: WWWLWW

What are the chances? Benfica have six points, Galatasaray have one
What are the chances? Benfica have six points, Galatasaray have one©UEFA.com

Reporter's view: Çetin Cem Yılmaz
It may only be matchday three, but this already looks potentially decisive. Should the Eagles extend their perfect Group C record to three games, they will be tough to catch. And it will be a long way back for Galatasaray if they have racked up only a point from half their campaign. Hamzaoğlu's decision to name his probable starting lineup early – as well as calling his side the favourites – has certainly raised the stakes.

Did you know? 
The teams met in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage when Emre Aşık and Ümit Karan struck in Galatasaray's 2-0 away victory; find out more in our extensive match background

City guide: Istanbul
City guide: Istanbul

Related Items

Top