Galatasaray Istanbul will take on Barcelona at the Nef Arena on Thursday evening, March 17, in the return leg of the Europa League 1/8 final. They drew level in the first leg, but will the home side again cause a sensation? Full statistics and all current odds for the match can be found at 1xbet official website.
The Red-Yellows are frankly failing in their current domestic league campaign: The Turkish football giants are only eleventh in the league standings, nine points behind the European competition. In 29 games, 38 points, 39 goals scored and 42 conceded. The team failed all of January, suffering five defeats in a row. That was the final straw for the club’s management, who sacked the experienced Fatih Terim and replaced him with the Spaniard Domenech Torren. The Turkish superclub’s fortunes have since improved, with 3 wins and only one defeat in their last 5 games. Last weekend, the Red and Whites beat Besiktas 2-1 in the derby thanks to a Kerem Akturkoglu (1.1) double.
The more surprising were the fall results in the Europa League as the Turks finished first in a quartet with Lazio, Marseille and Lokomotiv to advance directly to the 1/8 finals. Algerian forward Sofiane Feghouli, defender Caan Arslan and midfielder Arda Turan are all out injured.
The results of the club have improved considerably after the appointment of Xavi as the head coach: the team climbed into the Champions League top-four with 51 points after 27 rounds of played (and 2 matches in reserve). There are 52 goals scored and 29 conceded. The Catalans strengthened well in the winter transfer window, signing Ferran Torres, Adam Traore, Pierre Aubameyang and Dani Alves, and these players are already benefiting the club. Last Sunday, the Blues beat Osasuna 4-0 (2.0) at the Camp Nou.
Only defenders Sergio Roberto and Samuel Umtiti and young forward Ansu Fathi are sidelined. In the previous round of the Europa League the visitors also drew the first leg with Napoli, but in the return leg they confidently demolished the Italians 2-4.
The last time the two teams met in the 2002/03 Champions League group stage, the Catalans were stronger both times (3-1 and 0-2).
Galatasaray vs Barcelona
Few had foreseen intrigue in this encounter, but the reality is that the clubs did not reveal the strongest at Camp Nou. However, it would be deceitful to call it a legitimate outcome: the Catalans missed many chances to score, or perhaps they simply underestimated their opponents. It will be different now, with Xavi putting the best of the best into the starting line-up. Our prediction is for an individual Barça total of more than 2.