The first week of the Spor Toto Super League closes with Galatasaray hosting Kasımpaşa in İstanbul and Gençlerbirliği taking on Medical Park Antalyaspor on its home turf in the capital on Monday.
A game between defending champion Galatasaray, which also just defeated archrival Fenerbahçe for Super Cup honors, and league newcomer Kasımpaşa may be considered by many to be a mere formality.
If Galatasaray has a weakness, it will be the fact that the team has to spread its attention across more different competitions than little Kasımpaşa, as the Lions are competing in the UEFA Champions League, in addition the domestic league and cup.
Other than that and the possible dangers of overconfidence, Fatih Terim’s Galatasaray has all the advantages. The match will even be in the Lions’ imposing Türk Telekom Arena. It may not be far from Kasımpaşa’s home in the heart of İstanbul, but it is a whole different world.
Kasımpaşa, a team that bobs in and out of top-flight Turkish football, has just returned from a one-year exile in the second-tier Bank Asya League 1. So, the small İstanbul side will certainly have its work cut out for it in a tough draw for a first game.
In order to insure they do not go back to the second tier next year, Kasımpaşa has signed a host of new players, including foreign names like Kalu Uche, Fabian Ernst from Beşiktaş, Pablo Pintos, Andreas Isaksson and Uruguay Olympian Tabare Viudez.
No matter what happens, the game promises to be a harsh refresher course for Kasımpaşa.
In Ankara, Fuat Çapa’s Gençlerbirliği is paired up with Mehmet Özdilek’s Medical Park Antalyaspor. Antalya may have finished 15th, just above the relegation line, last season, but that does not mean it does not have a fighting chance. Anything can happen in football.