Bursaspor, beaten 2-0 away at Atatürk Stadium by Eskişehirspor in week three of their Super Final Europa League group game, seeks redemption and revenge when it hosts its conqueror Eskişehirspor in week four at Atatürk Stadium on Thursday.
Undefeated Eskişehirspor, coached by Ersun Yanal, has won one and drawn two and goes into this match with 30 points. Ertuğrul Sağlam’s Bursaspor is the weakest link in the four-team playoff group with one win and two defeats in three outings -- and 28 points overall. Bursaspor -- aka the Green Crocs -- which has also qualified for the Ziraat Turkish Cup final against Fenerbahçe, cannot afford to lose or even draw at home on Wednesday because that would all but kill its chances in the playoffs with two games to go.
The Crocs, therefore, have prepared hard for the clash against Eskişehirspor -- popularly called EsEs in football circles. Bursaspor coach Sağlam was absent from Tuesday’s practice sessions, which were carried out under the supervision of assistant trainer Mutlu Topçu.
There were also several walking wounded on the Bursaspor squad who did not report for training -- English keeper Scott Paul Carson, who is receiving treatment in his native country, and Turgay Bahadır, who was bedridden with the flu, as well as Turkey junior national team keeper Sercan Şen.
And the long list of absentees included Czech striker Stanislav Sesták and Nancy-born Moroccan right back Michael Chrétien Basser, who suffered bad knocks on their knees during Saturday’s match at Eskişehirspor.
Yanal, the coach of Eskişehirspor, likes to do the talking on the pitch and therefore refrained from making comments -- favorable or unfavorable -- on Wednesday’s toughie against the Green Crocs. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. and the referee will be Özgür Yankaya.
Week 5, May 5-6: Eskişehirspor vs. İstanbul BB, Bursaspor vs. Sivasspor
Week 6, May 12-13: İstanbul BB vs. Bursaspor, Sivas vs. Eskişehir.