The defeat cost the Canaries dear because they are trailing runaway leader Galatasaray by as many as nine points going into the match against Gençlerbirliği. But with Galatasaray idle until Monday, when it faces Sivasspor away, Fenerbahçe has a good chance of reducing the gap between it and the leader to six points.
The fact of the matter is that Fener will be playing on its most favorite turf, Şükrü Saracoğlu. The Canaries have lost six matches this season and all have been on the road, but the same Canaries are unbeaten at home in 36 league games. And so if the past is our guide, the Canaries do not seem destined to lose against Fuat Çapa’s Gençlerbirliği on Saturday.
Fenerbahçe lefty Caner Erkin, who suffered a knock on the knee during the Turkey-Slovakia friendly on Sunday, has been declared fit by the club physicians and will very likely take his place on the Fener team on Saturday.
The Fener foreign battalion, who were invited by their respective countries for national duty, have all returned to the fold. They include -- among others -- Switzerland left-back Reto Pirmin Ziegler, Nigeria defender Joseph Yobo and Cameroon striker Henri Bienvenu.
But defender Bekir İrtegün and Germany-born offensive midfielder Sezer Öztürk, who are undergoing treatment for their various injuries, will again be absent from the Fener squad on Saturday. Thirty-something Brazilian captain-playmaker Alex de Souza will again be orchestrating the Fenerbahçe midfield.
Gençlerbirliği, which drew 3-3 with Sivasspor at home in week 28 last Sunday, is one of the teams vying for a playoff spot at the end of the season. And if Çapa’s men can overcome the odds and win at Şükrü Saracoğlu, then they could leapfrog the Storm into fourth place if the latter loses at Beşiktaş on Sunday.
Another match on Saturday pits Mersin İdmanyurdu against Orduspor in a clash of newcomers. Both teams are not threatened by relegation but the loser could find itself rubbing shoulders with teams that will be plying their trade in the Bank Asya League 1 next season.
Medical Park Antalyaspor hosts Samsunspor in a match none of the teams can afford to lose. A Samsunspor victory would send Antalyaspor to the relegation zone, while the Black Sea side will almost certainly face the drop if it is beaten by Antalyaspor.
Eskişehirspor faces a relatively easy task as it takes on relegated Ankaragücü at 19 Mayıs Stadium in the cold capital. Ankaragücü only has pride to play for, nothing else. But Eskişehirspor, dubbed Es Es Es Ki Ki Ki EsKi EsKi Es by the fans, had better beware because a drowning man will clutch at a straw.