Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Besiktas’ pride will be at stake when they host Slovan Bratislava at their Vodafone Park on Thursday evening. The Black and Whites suffered a loss in each of their four group games, but they are surely capable of making life difficult for the Slovaks, who have slim chances of making it to the Europa League last 32 as well.
Even though head coach Abdullah Mucib Avci is likely to mix the squad against Slovan Bratislava, we are tempted to put our money on the hosts, who are eager to make amends for the unsuccessful Europa League campaign. Slovan Bratislava are not regarded as good travelers, which is yet another reason why home win should be considered. You should bear in mind that the hosts will be without suspended winger Jermain Lens, who was sent off in the 3-1 loss at Sporting Braga.
Highlighted Player (Oguzhan Ozyakup):
The 23-year-old Netherlands-born Turkish international Oguzhan Ozyakup is a midfielder who started his professional career at Premier League giants Arsenal. Ozyakup arrived to the London-based club as a schoolboy from AZ and went through Arsenal academy, before making his competitive debut in a League Cup match against Shrewsbury Town, when he supplied the assist for Yossi Benayoun in a 3-1 victory.
The Turkish international however failed to break into the first-team and was transferred to Besiktas in 2012. Turkey international has passed the 100-match mark for his club in 2016 and is considered one of the more experienced and most valuable players of the club, despite he is only 23 years of age.
The talented midfielder was subject of intense transfer speculation during the 2016 summer transfer window with Valencia reportedly expressing interest in signing the Turkish footballer, but Ozyakup remained at Besiktas and went on to extend his contract, which will keep him at the Vodafone Arena until 2018.
Highlighted Team (Slovan Bratislava):
Over the years Slovan Bratislava have established themselves as the most successful Slovakian club. The Belasi clinched their 13th domestic trophy in the 2018/2019 season, finishing the campaign 14 points clear of second-placed Zilina. Slovan Bratislava welcome their rivals at Tehelne pole, the stadium with the capacity of 22,500.
The Tehelne pole club wear white shirts and white shorts when playing at home, while blue is the dominant colour of their away kit. Spartak Trnava are regarded as the club’s fiercest rivals, but they hold the rivalry with DAC Dunajska Streda as well. There have always been fireworks in matches between Slovan and Inter Bratislava, especially when both teams were part of the Czechoslovak First League.
In the 1968/69 season Slovan Bratislava won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, with the team beating star-studded La Liga side Barcelona in the title game. It has to be noted that the likes of Cvetler, Hrivnak and Jan Capkovic scored for the Slovaks in the final of the European competition.