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10 things to know about Bursaspor

September 29, 2010

Rangers take on Bursaspor tonight and in a couple of weeks, Manchester United will have the same honour. Here are a few facts about the Turkish Champions and their players that you probably didn’t know alread.

#1 – Before the 2009/10 season when they won the Turkish Süper Lig, the highest Burksaspor had finished a season was in 4th in 1979/80. They were actually relegated from the Süper Lig in 2003/04 and only returned to the Turkish top flight in 2006/07.

#2 – Bursaspor was formed in June 1963 when five Bursa clubs, Acar İdman Yurdu, Akınspor, İstiklal, Pınarspor and Çelikspor all merged together. It only took them three years to gain promotion to the Süper Lig. They are nicknamed ‘The Green Crocodiles.’

#3 – The main fan base of Bursaspor are known as the Teksas (Texas). They rose in notoriety after supporting Azerbaijan during the tense 2010 World Cup qualifier between Turkey and Armenia.

#4 – Tonight is the first time Bursaspor and Rangers will face each other. The only time the Turkish team have played in Scotland, they drew 0-0 with Dundee United in the Cup Winners’ Cup second round in 1974. The return leg in Turkey ended 1-0 to Bursaspor. Guess who lined up as a central defender for Dundee in those games? Current Rangers boss Walter Smith.

#5 – The Turkish have only competed in Europe twice before this season’s Champions League. In 1974/75, they beat Finn Harps and Dundee United in rounds one and two of the European Cup Winners’ Cup before falling to Dynamo Kiev 3-0 over two legs in the quarter finals. In 1986/87, they lost 7-0 to Ajax in the first round of the same competition.

#6 – Last year was manager Ertuğrul Sağlam‘s first full season in charge. Sağlam was a former striker and centre-back for Samsunspor and Beşiktaş and he went on to manage both clubs before taking over at Bursaspor in January 2009. Sağlam has previously managed in the Champions League.

#7 – Pablo Batalla and Ozan İpek, both midfielders, were joint top scorers for Bursaspor last season. They both scored 8 goals each.

#8 – Though it may surprise to know that despite the low individual totals, Bursaspor were actually the top scorers in the whole Süper Lig last season. They bagged 65 goals in 34 games.

#9 – Bursaspor goalkeeper Dimitar Ivankov has scored 42 goals so far in his career and takes the penalties for his team. He is the third highest scoring goalkeeper in football history behind José Luis Chilavert and Rogério Ceni.

#10 – Sercan Yıldırım is Bursaspor’s current rising star. Preferring to play in the hole behind a front man, Yıldırım has incredible pace that sees him constantly breaking late into the box. He was said to have been on the radar of Sir Alex Ferguson last summer and has previously admitted to being a lifelong Glasgow Rangers fans.

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