Fenerbahce invested massive amounts in players that they expect to help them win the title in the Super League and advance as far as possible in the Champions League. They have drifted farther from this objective after losing the opening game in Moscow, but if there is a place where the tables can be turned, than this is Sukru Saracoglu Stadium.
Odds: Pinnacle 2.32
This is the game that will make or break Fenerbahce, because neither the fans or the management will accept a consolation prize in the form of a Europa League presence. Losing the Super Cup against archrivals Galatasaray and drawing away at lowly Elazigspor are two upsetting events that the fans are ready to forgive if Fenerbahce win in Istanbul. Kocaman chose not to rest his best players in the last round but fortunately neither Kuyt or Sow suffered any injuries and they are both ready to play.
Defending in Istanbul is not an option
Fenerbahce seemed capable of holding their ground in Moscow and only retaliated after the Russians scored first, but unfortunately the hosts caught a lucky break and got away with a win. Kocaman can’t afford to play it safe anymore and the confrontation with Vaslui should serve as a silent reminder of the risks he takes when defending too much. Kuyt and Sow are amazing players and as long as the midfielders provide them with enough quality balls, one of them is bound to score.
A narrow 1-0 victory will see them through but this is not the way Fenerbahce will play tonight, as they need to capitalize on the goal scored away. Spartak desperately needs to score a goal of their own, but unless the hosts allow them to take initiative, the Russians will be confined in their own half. Emenike and Ari were substitutes in the domestic league game lost by Spartak away at Grozny but coach Unai Emery didn’t resist the temptation and introduced Emenike after just twenty minutes. Tonight only the Nigerian is expected to play, with Ari being kept on the bench to join the team if things go wrong.
Each time a Turkish team plays in front of its fans, bookmakers tend to underprice them because they know that punters will back them anyway. Fenerbahce has a stronger squad and players that are capable of scoring against better defensive teams than Spartak, although both Sow and Kuyt need to show their true colors. Pinnacle values the hosts at 2.32 and the odds didn’t change too much, but they are bound to decrease as the kickoff draws near.