Preview: Fenerbahce v Lokomotiv Moscow – The most politically charged clash in the Europa League

Jeremain Lens

Fenerbahce welcome Lokomotiv Moscow to Istanbul in what is set to be the most politically charged game in the Europa League Round of 32.

Relations between Russia and Turkey are at an all time low after Turkish forces shot down a Russian war plane near the Turkish-Syrian border.

Tensions between Turkey and Russia have spilled over into football with controversial moves such as players bans.

Russia recently outlawed domestic clubs from signing Turkish players according to the Independent.

Lokomotiv rivals Spartak were fined 100,000 roubles ($1,446.45) after their supporters burnt Turkish flags during a Russian league game against Krylia Sovetov Samara by the Russian Football Union (RFU).

Serdar Tasci became the latest victim of the hostilities between Turkey and Russia according to his agent Ahmet Bulut.

Bulut who also represents Arda Turan was quoted by Fanatik as saying: “The fans at a game in Russia burned a Turkish flag which Serdar was not pleased about and the situation started to become unbearable.

“He felt uncomfortable with the situation and wanted to leave Russia. Schalke 04 were interested but Bayern Munich made a late bid and clinched the deal.”

Back to football and Fenerbahce are in great form leading the Turkish Super League table and on an eight game win streak at home.

The Yellow Canaries are also unbeaten in their last five European games following their 4-1 defeat against Molde at home which Fenerbahce will want to forget all about.

Fenerbahce are missing a few players most notably Diego Ribas who is suspended and on-loan Liverpool winger Lazar Markovic due to injury.

Vitor Pereiera will however, welcome back defensive midfielders Mehmet Topal and Josef de Sozua both who missed the weekend victory against Kasimpasa.

Pereira will have to decide whether he starts with Fernandao or Robin van Persie upfront. The Brazilian has 19 goals in all competitions this season but Van Persie has 14 with half as much playing time.

Luis Nani will almost certainly start on the wing and Volkan Sen may start on the other side with Markovic out.

Fenerbahce are in great form and are unbeaten at home this season. The Yellow Canaries are also undefeated in their last five European games. The Istanbul giants have started to get and move up the gears recently. Considering how Lokomotiv struggled against Besiktas the Russian giants could be in for another tough game against Fener.

Predicting: Fenerbahce Win



Fenerbahce v Lokomotiv Moscow

Stadium: Sukru Saracoglu

Kick-Off: 17:00 GMT

Fenerbahce muhtemel 11: Volkan Demirel, Hasan Ali Kaldırım, Bruno Alves, Simon Kjaer, Gökhan Gönül, Josef De Souza, Mehmet Topal, Ozan Tufan, Volkan Şen, Luis Nani, Robin Van Persie

Lokomotiv Moskova muhtemel 11: Guilherme, Durica, Denisov, Shishkin, Yanbaev, Fernandes, Lokomeytsev, Samedov, N’Dinga, Maicon, Niasse