Turkish Football News

Big Three dominance ends in TSL

Big Three Turkish Super Lig dominance

The era of dominance by the Big Three clubs Turkey (Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, Besiktas) has come to an end, according to pundits.

The Turkish Super Lig has been unpredictable this season, to say the least. The traditional powerhouses, or Big Three as they are known — Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas — have faltered, allowing for smaller clubs to overtake them and steal their spotlight.

The first half of the season wrapped up after 17 games with Istanbul Basaksehir firmly holding on to first place with 35 points. Four other teams, Trabzonspor, Malatyaspor, Kasimpasa and Galatasaray are trailing them with 29 points each.

Besiktas, last year’s fourth-placed team, are in 7th place with 26 points. Fenerbahce, on the other hand, are having the worst season in their history; they are fighting relegation in 17th place with only 16 points, winning just three games so far.

With traditional underdogs like Istanbul Basaksehir, Trabzonspor and Kasimpasa, eyeing the league title, the question that keeps coming up is if this is the end of the era of the Big Three. Some pundits say yes.

So far, their dominance in the Turkish Super Lig looks to be over because all the other teams, including the newly promoted clubs, have managed to cause serious problems for the three Istanbul giants in the first half of the season.

According to one pundit in Turkey, Serkan Akcan, Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas will struggle in the league in the future.

“There was a cliché; ‘even a big team’s jersey can end the league in third place’ but this cliché doesn’t exist anymore,” Serkan Akcan said.

“If a team wants to end the season in third place, it should first do proper planning. For example, you should pick the right players for your team and make them act properly to the spirit of the club. Naturally, you have to manage your club well then you’ll succeed on the pitch,” he explained.

He pointed to Istanbul Basaksehir manager Abdullah Avci, saying he has been making the right choices by picking the right players for the team and the club’s management has been finding the right professionals as staff so the club became successful in the league.

Last season’s Super Lig champions Galatasaray are in fifth place with 29 points. The Lions are the most successful team in Turkey with 21 league titles to their name.

Their rivals Besiktas, who have lifted the league title 15 times, are in the 7th place with 26 points.

Meanwhile, Fenerbahce, who have 16 points, find themselves in a nightmare, currently in 17th place fighting relegation. Though competing for the league title and qualifying for Europe are their typical objectives every season, they are now trying to avoid the embarrassment of being relegated from Turkey’s top flight. They’ve been crowned champions 19 times with their last title being back in 2014, which seems like a lifetime ago for some die-hard fans.

The last time a club other than the Big Three won the Super Lig was back in 2010 when Bursaspor shocked the nation with their attacking mentality under the guidance of Ertugrul Saglam.

Akcan feels that Istanbul Basaksehir have a “formula to be successful” as they have the right board of directors, manager and players whereas clubus like Fenerbahce have been doing exactly the opposite.

“Now, Fenerbahce are in 17th place in the league because they didn’t hire the right manager and sign right players,” he stated.

Some pundits feel it’s the right time Basaksehir to win the title, praising their style of play and effective tactical setup.

The team’s defense has been praised by many; they only conceded 8 goals in 17 games, whereas Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas have conceded 68 goals altogether.

Pundits were also full of praise for the league’s current top scorer Mbaye Diagne, who has scored 20 goals for Kasimpasa in just 17 matches. The Senegalese has set a record for becoming the foreign player with the most goals in the first half of the season, breaking the previous record held by Mario Jardel back in 2000.

“Diagne has the most extraordinary striker performance in recent years. He’s a wonderful player. Now, if he played for Fenerbahce, they could be among the first three teams in the table. If he played for Galatasaray, they could lead the league by landslide. If he played for Besiktas, they wouldn’t face any of the crises that they are suffering from today,” Akcan claimed.

If the first half of the season was anything to go by, the second half will be just as, if not more, entertaining.

This year just might be the time Basaksehir get their hands on the Super Lig title but there are still another 17 games to go.