In a Turkish league dominated by a few, Aziz Behich’s Bursaspor will hope they can make a marked improvement on last season.
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The solitary Aussie representative in Turkey, Behich’s side finished just six points clear of relegation last season and a massive 36 points off the champions.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the Turkish Super Lig season.
After taking out their first Super Lig title in three years, Galatasaray are again among the favourites to take out the Turkish title.
Perhaps a club known best amongst Aussies for the time which Harry Kewell spent there, they spent more than 75% of last season atop the Super Lig table and as a result of their first-place finish will enter the UEFA Champions League at the group stage.
Bolstered by the signing of Ghana ace Andre Ayew, last season’s runners-up Fenerbache missed out on the title by just three points.
They haven’t won it since the 2013-14 season, but have finished runners-up three times since then.
Keen to build on what was a solid 2017-18 season, Basaksehir finished third in the league last year – behind Fenerbache only on goal difference.
Boasting the likes of ex-Arsenal and Man City defender Gael Clichy, they’ll be hopeful of closing the three-point gap with top spot this season.
Premiers in two of the last three seasons, in 2017-18 Besiktas finished in fourth spot but still just four points away from winners Galatasaray.
Boasting one of the strongest squads in the league, with the likes of Pepe, Gary Medel and Alvaro Negredo, Besiktas is a side which will be aiming for first.
It’s hard to go by some of the big names in the Besiktas squad – Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo scored just seven goals in 31 appearances for his side last season but is a quality player.
Besiktas were the tightest defence in the league last season, owing perhaps to the likes of Portuguese hardman Pepe and Chilean defender Gary Medel.
On loan from former English Premier League club Swansea, Andre Ayew is sure to have a big impact on proceedings this year for Fenerbache.
He didn’t score a goal in the league for the Swans last season in 12 matches but has the quality to have a big influence on the Super Lig.
Former Manchester City pair Gael Clichy and Emmanuel Adebayor lit up the stage at Basaksehir last season, with Adebayor scoring 15 goals in 30 matches.
Also scattered through the league are some main men in the Turkey national team set-up – the likes of midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup and defender Mehmet Topal are also key men.
There are three new sides in the Super Lig this season – Rizespor and Ankaragucu earned their place by finishing first and second in the second tier, while Erzurum BB won their place in the playoffs.
Rizespor finished six points clear at the top of the second division ladder to earn the right to promotion this season, returning to the top tier after relegation in 2016-17.
Financial troubles relegated Ankaragucu from the top tier back in 2011-12, but they’re now back after finishing second in the second tier last season.
Founded only in 2005 and having gained promotion from the fifth tier back in 2010-11, Erzurum BB are the surprise package in this year’s Super Lig.
The only Aussie representative in Turkey, Aziz Behich played in 31 of Bursaspor’s 34 matches last season. He scored five times and set up two goals.
A career-high goal haul last season will be tough to match, but it was his solid form which earned Behich consistent selection in Caltex Socceroos squads.
He’s played a key role in Bursaspor’s success over the past four seasons, playing on average 29 games per season for the club.
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