Galatasaray Still Searching For That Winning Champions League Formula

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Galatasaray Still Searching For That Winning Champions League Formula

Galatasaray have enjoyed some special nights in the Champions League in their history but this season again saw the Turkish giants miss out on the knockout stage of the competition.

Having last reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League back in 2013, the Yellow and Reds are still working on the formula to take their domestic domination to the next level in Europe’s elite club competition.

An Opportunity Missed

The 2023/24 Champions League campaign might well be looked back on as a missed opportunity for Galatasaray after they finished in third place in Group A. When the draw for the group phase took place, they might not have given themselves much hope, as they were drawn against FC Copenhagen, Manchester United and Bayern Munich. For perspective, in the current football bet markets, the latter are priced at odds of 15/2 to win the Champions League this season.

Most football tips would have had Bayern and United going through Group A but both Galatasaray and Copenhagen had different plans. Bavarian giants Bayern did manage to claim the top spot but it was Danish outfit Copenhagen who joined them in the knockout stages. Ultimately, Galatasaray wound up in third and United fell to the very bottom.

Having claimed one win and two draws, Galatasaray missed out by three points on the second spot and a chance to play knockout football in the Champions League once again. They fought back with two late goals to draw at home to Copenhagen in their opening game of the group, and Galatasaray enjoyed a night to remember at Old Trafford. Manager Okan Buruk watched as his side showed great resilience and came from behind twice to win 3-2 against the Red Devils.

Back-to-back defeats to Bayern were unsurprising but, after a thrilling 3-3 home draw with United, the Lions had their destiny in their own hands when they travelled to the Danish capital in their final group game. A 1-0 defeat in Copenhagen broke the hearts of the Galatasaray faithful and the club had to settle for a place in the Europa League.

How To Bridge The Gap

Galatasaray were drawn within a tough group and did well given the circumstances this season. The question for Buruk and the club will be how to bridge that gap to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League in the future. That performance at Old Trafford against Erik Ten Hag’s side and the draw at Rams Park showed just what the Turkish champions are capable of. Never giving up when the hosts twice took the lead at Old Trafford, the Yellow and Reds gave their travelling fans a night to remember at the Theatre of Dreams.

One of the things Buruk and his side can look to address, going forward, is making Rams Park a tougher place for opposition teams to go in the Champions League. Galatasaray have failed to win any of their home games in their last two campaigns in the Champions League group stages. Winning your home matches is key to reaching the knockouts, so it’s therefore imperative that the atmosphere at Rams Park is both lively and formidable to opponents. Of course, recruitment and developing talent through the ranks is an ongoing process and an area that can always be improved.

Galatasaray does appear to be taking steps in the right direction this season but there’s clearly work to be done if they’re aiming to bring Champions League football back to Rams Park.