Galatasaray v Fenerbahce
They may be situated just a few miles apart, on either side of Istanbul’s Bosporus strait, but Turkish football’s two biggest and most successful clubs are actually in different continents.
Founded in 1905 by students of the 400-year-old Galatasaray High School, Gala are notionally the team of the European elite, while Fener are representative of an ambitious, prosperous Asian Turkey.
These days, however, the intense rivalry between the pair has very little to do with cultural or religious affiliations and both clubs draw huge support from all over the country and far beyond.
Only five sides have ever won the Turkish Super Lig, with Galatasaray currently edging Fenerbahce 21-19 – while Besiktas (15), Trabzonspor (6) and Bursaspor (1) the only other sides to have been crowned champions. Gala are also very proud of being the only Turkish team to have won a major European competition, lifting the UEFA Cup in 2000.
One of the fiercest derbies in the world, it takes very little to fire up the passions of either side on match day. Yet, in 1996, a Scotsman actually managed to increase the temperature a degree or two higher than usual, as Graeme Souness – then Galatasaray coach – ran onto the pitch at Fenerbahce’s Sukru Saracoglu Stadium and planted a huge Gala flag in the centre circle at the end of the Turkish Cup Final. The provocative gesture almost caused a riot as home fans tried to get onto the pitch.
Depending on which side your loyalties lie, to this day Souness is either a hero or the arch-villain to football fans in the city.
Most recent...Fenerbahce’s Fernandao is denied by Gala keeper Fernando Muslera
Heated...it’s a passionate affair