MX23RW : Tuesday, October 26 20:18:08| >> :600:365318:365318:
Oct 3, 2021 at 2pm UK at Gaziantep Arena
Maxim (52' pen., 61'), Merkel (57'), Dicko (73')
Sagal (65'), Ersoy (83')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Celenk (63')
Karayel (60')

Preview: Gaziantep vs. Altay - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Turkish Super Lig clash between Gaziantep and Altay, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

A fourth-tier side as recently as 2017, Altay's rise has been meteoric and in their first Super Lig season since 2002-03, the club from Western Turkey have positioned themselves as an outsider for a European spot.

Currently third, just one point behind leaders Fenerbahce, Altay will continue their quest for continental football when they travel to face a relegation-threatened Gaziantep FK on Sunday afternoon.

Match preview

Had Altay avoided defeat against Fenerbahce in the third game of the season, they may have been looking at their position in the Super Lig table with even fonder eyes, yet their 2-0 defeat to the record Turkish champions mean they trail the leaders in the table.

Mustafa Denizli's side won their first two fixtures of the season before losing to the Yellow Canaries and Altay then went to lose the following match to Konyaspor, defeated 3-1 away to their fellow European hopefuls.

Bouncing back with a run of three straight league victories, including a statement win against reigning champions Besiktas, Altay's performances catapulted them back up the table and into contention.

Despite their strong form, Altay's defence have struggled at times this season, conceding in every Super Lig fixture bar one – an opening day 3-0 victory against Kayserispor.

Should they go on to achieve their ambition of European qualification for the first time since 1980-81, the Great Altay will need to start registering more clean sheets, with Sunday's meeting against one of the division's lowest scorers a perfect place to start.

No team outside of the relegation zone have scored fewer goals than Gaziantep this season and the Falcons have not been much better down the opposite end either.

Conceding four without return last time out against Adana Demirspor, Gaziantep currently hold a -4 goal difference and given how tight the bottom of the Super Lig table currently is, they will also be looking to strengthen their defensive performances.

Two points above the relegation zone heading into the match with Altay, Erol Bulut's men have shown signs of being able to get out of trouble, not least during their recent victory over the 2019-20 champions Istanbul Basaksehir.

It was their third consecutive win over the Gray Owls and Gaziantep will also be hoping to extend their positive head-to-head record over Altay when the pair meet at the Gaziantep Stadyumu.

Bulut's side have lost only once in their last eight matches against Altay, including a victory the last time Gaziantep welcomed their opponents, however, all but two of those fixtures came when the clubs were playing in the second tier.

Now both plying their trade in the top tier, albeit with differing ambitions for the season, it may be time for Altay to pick up their first victory over Gaziantep since 2018 when the sides meet this weekend.

Gaziantep Turkish Super Lig form:
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • D

Altay Turkish Super Lig form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W

Team News

If Altay are to maintain their unlikely push for European football then avoiding any injuries will be crucial for Denizli's side and they travel to face Gaziantep with close enough to a full squad.

An Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations winner with Gabon in 2011, Andre Biyogo Poko has proved a useful asset for Altay since joining on a free transfer last summer, yet the midfielder will miss their upcoming fixture through injury.

Martin Rodriguez and Eren Erdogan have both missed Altay's last two Super Lig matches and whilst the pair are expected to come back into the fold soon, they will not be available for the visitors this weekend.

Other than that, Denizli has a full squad to call upon, and will no doubt turn to the services of Daouda Bamba, who has scored four league goals in seven league appearances this season.

A further boost to the Altay side will be the return of Khaly Thiam, who missed their recent victory over Besiktas through suspension, and he is likely to be dropped straight back into the midfield.

Much of Altay's creativity has come from the right-hand side, where full-back Cebrail Karayel has provided three assists for the Great Altay.

Similarly, if Gaziantep are to achieve their goal of survival this year then their squad avoiding the treatment room will be imperative, yet a number of key players are set to miss the visit of Altay.

Most notably Pawel Olkowski, who has featured only once for the hosts this season, and the former Polish international is unlikely to make an appearance this weekend.

Amedej Vetrih and Dogan Erdogan are also doubts for Gaziantep, with the two set to miss out through injury.

Since arriving on a free transfer from Fenerbahce this summer, former Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur defender Steven Caulker has kept two clean sheets for Gaziantep and he will need to be on top form this weekend if his new side are to pull off a shock result.

Gaziantep possible starting lineup:
Guvenc; Ceylan, Caulker, Djilobodji, Pehlivan; Merkel, Niyaz; Figueiredo, El Messaoudi, Sagal; Demir

Altay possible starting lineup:
Lis; Karayel, Bjorkander, Akca, Naderi; Kappel, Thiam, Yildirim, Celenk; Thaciano, Damba

SM words green background

We say: Gaziantep 0-2 Altay

In a position they could have only dreamt of after being promoted last season, Altay will be keen to make sure their European ambitions continue deep into the campaign.

Knowing a win could see them top of the table at the end of the weekend, should other results go their way, expect Denizli's side to come flying out of the traps and pick up yet another win.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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