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Hertha host Galatasaray homecoming

A number of Galatasaray AŞ players and coach Michael Skibbe will return to the land of their birth on Matchday 4 with the Turkish giants looking to earn a place in the last 32 with a draw or a win against Hertha BSC Berlin.

Galatasaray's Berlin-born Turkish international Hakan Balta
Galatasaray's Berlin-born Turkish international Hakan Balta ©Getty Images

A number of Galatasaray AŞ players and coach Michael Skibbe will return to the land of their birth on Matchday 4 with the Turkish giants looking to earn a place in the last 32 of the UEFA Cup with a draw or a win against Hertha BSC Berlin.

• Hertha have drawn both of their Group B games to date and were not in action on 27 November. They will not know whether they have reached the last 32 until after their Matchday 5 fixture at Olympiacos CFP.

• Galatasaray surprisingly lost 1-0 at home against FC Metalist Kharkiv last time out but they still need just one point against Hertha to be sure of qualifying. Only once has a total of six points not been enough to progress beyond the UEFA Cup group stage, with Rangers FC missing out in 2004/05.

• Hertha and Galatasaray have met once before, with the Turkish side drawing 2-2 at home and winning 4-1 in the German capital in the 1999/00 UEFA Champions League first group stage.

• Michael Preetz and Dariusz Wosz struck twice in a minute to give Hertha a 2-0 lead in Istanbul, but Hakan Şükür reduced the arrears before half-time, with Gheorghe Hagi equalising four minutes from time for Fatih Terim's Galatasaray.

• Kjetil Rekdal put Jürgen Röber's Hertha ahead before the break in the second leg, but Hakan Şükür struck twice, before goals from Tugay Kerimoğlu and Okan Buruk completed a memorable win.

• The teams for that tie in Berlin on 26 October 1999 were:
Hertha: Gábor Király, Dick van Burik, Eyjölfur Sverrison, Dariusz Wosz, Ali Daei, Kjetil Rekdal (Andreas Neuendorf, 81), Michael Preetz (Ilija Aračić, 74), Andreas Schmidt, Kai Michalke, Sebastian Deisler, Thomas Helmer (Hendrik Herzog, 14).

Galatasaray: Cláudio Taffarel, Gheorghe Popescu, Emre Belözoğlu, Arif Erdem (Emrah Eren, 87), Okan Buruk, Suat Kaya, Hakan Şükür, Fatih Akyel (Ergün Penbe, 46), Ahmet Yıldırım, Hasan Şaş (Tugay Kerimoğlu, 71), Capone.

• Those games represent Hertha's only experience of Turkish opposition.

• Galatasaray have played 21 games against German sides, from which their record reads W5 D10 L6. Their ten games in Germany have earned them three wins and two draws with the remaining five ending in defeat.

• Last season, Galatasaray were knocked out of the UEFA Cup Round of 32 by German opposition, losing 5-1 at Bayer 04 Leverkusen after drawing the home leg 0-0.

• Then Leverkusen coach Michael Skibbe is now in charge at Galatasaray, and has plenty of experience of German football to call upon as he looks to undo Hertha.

• Hertha's Ukrainian striker Andriy Voronin played under Skibbe at Leverkusen prior to joining Liverpool FC, who have loaned him back to the Bundesliga club for the season.

• Like Skibbe, Hertha boss Lucien Favre has played against his current team in a UEFA club competition game. His Servette FC side drew 0-0 in Geneva and then beat Hertha 3-0 in Berlin to win a 2001/02 UEFA Cup third-round tie.

• Favre has never faced Turkish opponents before.

• With Turkish people representing the largest ethnic minority population in Berlin, Galatasaray's visit is sure to create a major stir.

• Several of Galatasaray's foreign players have Bundesliga experience. Fernando Meira was at VfB Stuttgart from 2002 to 2008 and Lincoln was at 1. FC Kaiserslautern from 2001 to 2004 before playing for FC Schalke 04 between 2004 and 2007.

• Galatasaray's Barış Özbek and Serkan Çalik are both German Under-21 internationals, having been born in Germany and played for SC Rot-Weiss Essen before moving to their parents' home country to join Galatasaray.

• Five more Galatasaray players were born in Germany, with four of them starting their careers with German clubs:
- Aykut Erçetin was born in Goppingen and started his career at Stuttgart.
- Erdem Alparslan was born in Vechta and started his career with Werder Bremen.
- Volkan Yaman was born in Munich and started his career with TSV 1860 München.

• Two of them were actually born in Berlin.

• Hakan Balta grew up in the German capital and played for Hertha at youth level prior to joining Vestel Manisaspor in 2003 and then Galatasaray in 2007.

• Ümit Karan was also born in Berlin, and played for local Turkish side Türkiyemspor Berlin, but made his name in Turkey after joining Gençlerbirliği SK in 1996, moving on to Galatasaray in 2001.

• Hertha are unbeaten in their last seven European home games.

• Galatasaray's Ayhan Akman is serving a one-match suspension while Hertha's Gojko Kačar is a booking shy of a one-match ban.

• Metalist play Olympiacos in Wednesday's other Group B game. SL Benfica are the only side in the section not in action on Matchday 4.

• The draw for the UEFA Cup Round of 32 and Round of 16 will be held at UEFA Headquarters in Nyon on Friday 19 December at 13.00CET. Group winners will be paired with third-placed sides from other UEFA Cup sections, while second-placed finishers will be drawn against one of the eight clubs who finished third in the UEFA Champions League groups. The UEFA Cup group winners and runners-up will play the second leg at home. Teams from the same association cannot be drawn against each other.