Fenerbahce: Manchester United’s potential Champions League play-off opponent

by Sam Peoples

Fenerbahce did well to qualify for next season’s Champions League considering they were banned from last season’s competition and essentially played the entire 2014/15 campaign with an interim manager.

Ersun Yanal, who had led the side to the domestic title in the previous campaign, resigned three weeks before the start of the league season. His assistant Ismail Kartal took over, though it was known for a while that he would resign at the end of the season.

He did start with Turkish Super Cup victory in his first game though as his side defeated Galatasaray on penalties.

The immediate problem for Fenerbahce was their away form. Despite winning their first three home games, Kartal’s side dropped points in their opening three away matches.

After that though, Kartal led his side to an impressive 14 match unbeaten run in the League, only interrupted by a home defeat to Kayserispor in the Turkish Cup.

Fenerbahce had sealed their progress to the Round of 16 stage of the Turkish Cup after coming through the Group Stage, before they were next defeated. They had only recently surrendered top spot in their domestic division when they were surprisingly beaten at home to Akhisar Belediyespor.

Only two matches later and Fenerbahce were defeated again, this time away to Glencerbirligi.

They went unbeaten for the rest of their league season, defeating eventual champions Besiktas along the way, but three draws in their final eight matches left too much of a gap to reclaim the title as they finished second.

Their final match was a 2-0 league win over Kasimpasa, but their season was effectively over prior to that. Fenerbahce were beaten in their Turkish Cup semi-final by Bursaspor, ending their season in underwhelming fashion, though Champions League qualification meant it was effectively job done.

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