PSV to take slender lead into the Turkish cauldron
European stalwarts PSV Eindhoven and Galatasaray will square off against each other for a place in the final qualifying round of 2021/2022's UEFA Champions League, starting with the first leg at the Philips Stadion in the Netherlands on Wednesday evening. Mark van Bommel's charges will be itching to take a major leap towards group stage participation for the first time in several years, and ought to have the advantage at home. Read our preview here:
Marco's here for keeps
One of the stranger stories and career trajectories over the past several years has been that of central midfielder Marco van Ginkel. Now 28, the ex-Chelsea player had a long injury lay-off early into his time at Stamford Bridge, and his gametime never recovered as a result, and much of the period since was spent on loan, mostly in Eindhoven. There remains little doubt about his overall quality, and although he'll be ostensibly one half of the double pivot for his now permanent club, he has the ability to saunter upfield, latching onto loose balls in and around the area to finish them off, as his goalscoring record attests. Israeli stalwart Eran Zahavi will be the sole striker, and even at 33, he still combines stamina with nous to give defenders a torrid time.
The Arda only grows
Another veteran will be hoping to have a big impact on proceedings. Wide forward Arda Turan, whose international career ended in acrimony after reaching a century of caps for Turkey in 2017, remains vice-captain for Sarı-Kırmızılılar, and could spearhead the charge from a more central area on the night for head coach Fatih Terim. Goals may need to come from sources at the elite level other than up front; Oğulcan Çağlayan endured a very poor return in his first term at the Türk Telekom Stadium, and will be desperate to kick on in the second to dissuade the board from making further dips into the transfer market.
Chewing the Fatih
Neither side look the most defensively sound, and without the cloak of away goals to assist teams, there's arguably more onus on winning the tie. It ought to be an open game, and bet365's combo of PSV to win with both scoring at 4.00 looks an ideal punt.