Our prediction for this match:
Turkey will be looking to kick off their preparations for EURO in style when they take on Azerbaijan in Alanya on Thursday evening. Head coach Senol Gunes will surely use the midweek friendly to test as many players as possible, but regardless of which footballers will be deployed in the starting XI, home win should be considered. Experienced attacker Burak Yilmaz, who helped Lille win the Ligue 1 title, is likely to start from the bench, with rising star Halil Ibrahim Dervisoglu pushing for a start.
Azerbaijan, on the other hand, aim to bounce back from the World Cup qualifier defeat to Serbia, and they are likely to adopt yet another defence-minded approach. Since under 2.5 goals have been netted in each of the previous four meetings between Turkey and Azerbaijan in all competitions, a low-scoring affair is on the cards at Bahcesehir Okullari Stadium.
Highlighted Player (Hakan Calhanoglu):
Hakan Calhanoglu is another one in the long line of Turkish footballers who were born in Germany, so it is hardly surprising he came to prominence thanks to his performances in Bundesliga. The attacking midfielder with great vision and very good goalscoring record started his professional career at Karlsruher, scoring impressive 17 goals in 50 league outings to earn a move to Bundesliga side Hamburg.
The spell at Imtech Arena was merely a stepping stone for bigger things as 11 goals in his debut top flight campaign persuaded Bayer Leverkusen to splash nearly €15 million on his services. That proved a very good investment as Calhanoglu continued the rich vein of form, and it is now a matter of time before he joins one of European powerhouses.
The midfield maestro had a bright start to his career in the Turkey national team, scoring 5 goals in first 16 caps, and chances are he will become a leader for Milli Takim in the foreseeable future.
Highlighted Team (Azerbaijan):
Azerbaijan footballers were playing for Soviet Union national team from 1920 to 1991. In 1991 Azerbaijan gained its independence and they have been competing on the international stage ever since. The Azeri have yet to qualify for the finals of a major tournament, but they have been producing fine performances ever since Robert Prosinecki took over the reins.
On September 17, 1992 the Milli suffered a 6-3 loss to Georgia in their first international match and seven years later they recorded their biggest win, with the team beating Liechtenstein 4-0 in front of home fans in Baku. The Azerbaijan national football team wear blue shirts and blue shorts when playing at home ground, while the colour of their away kit is red.
Gurban Gurbanov is the most capped played (68) and the legendary attacker, who played for Azerbaijan from 1992 to 2005), scored 14 goals for the national team. It has to be noted that the former Soviet republic play their home matches at Baku Olympic Stadium, which was opened on March 6, 2015.