Beşiktaş JK's attacking midfielder Burak Yılmaz has told uefa.com it would be "an honour and a thrill" to make his group stage debut against Liverpool FC.
Beşiktaş JK's attacking midfielder Burak Yılmaz has told uefa.com it would be "an honour and a thrill" to make his group stage debut against Liverpool FC on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old was plucked from the semi-obscurity of second division side Antalyaspor by former Beşiktaş coach Jean Tigana in summer 2006 and has since been something of a revelation. Last season, he played in 30 of the Istanbul club's 34 league games, helping them towards UEFA Champions League qualification. "In my opinion, I made a contribution last term and that's why we are playing Champions League football," he said.
He hopes that input will be rewarded with a UEFA Champions League bow at home to Liverpool, as Beşiktaş target their first points in Group A. The Turkish international said: "When you think that your first Champions League match could be against Liverpool, there is no doubt that it is an honour and a thrill for any footballer. It will be the most important game of my career."
Burak staked his claim for a starting place by taking a key role in Saturday's Süper Lig fightback at Trabzonspor, where Beşiktaş came from two down to win 3-2 – scoring the visitors' first goal and setting up Bobo's winner. "After that victory in Trabzon we are more confident and have better morale for our Champions League tie," he said. "I think we can take the three points that we need."
Not that Burak expects an easy ride against a Liverpool team with just one point, as opposed to Beşiktaş's blank. "The core of their team is the same that won this competition in 2005, though there have been some changes," said Burak. "Now they are more powerful. There are a lot of important players such as [Andriy] Voronin, [Dirk] Kuyt and [Jermaine] Pennant, but for me the most dangerous is Steven Gerrard. He is ambitious, energetic, hard-working and can shoot from distance."