Preview: Fenerbahce vs. FC Twente – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday’s Europa Conference League clash between Fenerbahce and FC Twente, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Fenerbahce and FC Twente square off on Thursday in the first leg of their Europa Conference League playoff tie.

In what is arguably the head-to-head of the round, either the Turkish giants or in-form Dutch outfit will miss out on a place in the group stages.

Match preview

Fenerbahce coach Ismail Kartal reacts on February 24, 2022© Reuters

Whenever Fenerbahce miss out on a Super Lig title, it is deemed to be a failure, yet there was still an acceptance that Galatasaray deserved their triumph in 2022-23.

However, on the back of a second-placed finish and a wide array of astute signings during the summer, Fenerbahce look well set to regain the top-flight crown and go deep in Europe.

So far, Ismail Kartal has witnessed his team win all six of their games in all competitions this season, scoring 19 goals in the process.

While it should be noted that they are yet to face a Turkish title challenger or notable European name, only confidence can come from showcasing such efficiency in their opening fixtures.

Nevertheless, there can be little doubting that the stakes are high ahead of this contest, Fenerbahce facing opponents who are playing with a similar amount of quality.

Although Twente have scored five goals fewer than Fenerbahce over the same amount of fixtures, 10 strikes have come from their most recent three encounters.

On the back of a 4-1 victory over Almere City, Joseph Oosting witnessed his side overcome PEC Zwolle by a 3-1 scoreline on Sunday to make it successive wins in the Eredivisie.

In total, Twente have gone as many as 15 competitive matches unbeaten since their last defeat back in April, and their inferior stature in comparison to Fenerbahce should be ignored.

The Dutch side have not competed in the group stage of a European tournament since participating in that phase of the 2012-13 Europa League.

Fenerbahce Europa Conference League form:

Fenerbahce form (all competitions):

FC Twente Europa Conference League form:

FC Twente form (all competitions):

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Team News

Fenerbahce goalkeeper Altay Bayindir in February 2022© Reuters

Fenerbahce were dealt a double blow on Monday as each of Fred and Cengiz Under both sustained injuries during the win over Samsunspor.

Given the three-day turnaround, their involvement in this fixture looks unlikely, Bartug Elmaz and Irfan Can Kahveci in line to take their spots in central midfield and on the right flank.

Sebastian Szymanski – who netted as a substitute on Monday – is also an option to be selected as the most advanced of a midfield three, while goalkeeper Altay Bayindir could return between the sticks.

Like their hosts, Twente have injury issues with Joshua Brenet and Youri Regeer both being withdrawn during the first half versus PEC Zwolle.

Alfons Sampsted and Mathias Kjolo are both on standby to deputise at right-back and in the engine room respectively if required.

Fenerbahce possible starting lineup:
Bayindir; Kadioglu, Aziz, Djiku, Oosterwolde; Elmaz, Yuksek, Yandas; Kahveci, Dzeko, Tadic

FC Twente possible starting lineup:
Unnerstall; Sampsted, Hilgers, Propper, Rots; Sadilek, Kjolo; Rots, Steijn, Van Wolfswinkel; Ugalde

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We say: Fenerbahce 2-1 FC Twente

Neither side have shown many faults whatsoever during the early weeks of the season, undoubtedly helped by starting competitive games earlier than other teams. On this particular occasion, we expect Fenerbahce to edge an entertaining tussle, but Twente keeping themselves in the tie ahead of the second leg.

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