Galatasaray in front but Turkish Super Lig title race set to go to the wire
Frontrunners Galatasaray took another giant stride towards being crowned Turkish Super Lig champions following a 2-0 victory over Istanbul rivals Besiktas on Sunday evening.
Here's five key points ahead what promises to be a dramatic run-in ...
1. The Emperor Strikes Back
The appointment of Fatih Terim -- nicknamed the "Emperor" -- midway through the season has proven to be a stroke of genius in hindsight. The former Turkey national team boss has won three and drawn one of their derby games against Besiktas, Fenerbahce, Basaksehir and Trabzonspor. Contrast that with Galatasaray's previous manager Igor Tudor, who has failed to record a single victory.
Terim has plenty of experience getting his side over the final hurdle having already won the Super Lig six times.
Following the game, Terim issued the following battle cry: "Did we get what we deserved from the game? Yes we did. Did we play good football? Yes we did. Did we give every ounce of effort and fight? Yes we did. Did our prayers get answered? Yes they did. Did we deserve the victory? We most definitely deserved this victory."
2. Fenerbahce are most definitely title contenders
Fenerbahce have endured a turbulent season so far with manager Aykut Kocaman finding himself under intense pressure from fans due to his pragmatic style of football. The experienced tactician has frequently chopped and changed his starting XI but has managed to keep his side in the race against all the odds.
But things appear to have fallen into place at the right time for the Yellow Canaries. Fenerbahce have kicked into gear and have registered five wins on the trot, including a 4-1 victory over Istanbul rivals Kasimpasa last Saturday.
Kocaman's side moved ahead of reigning champions Besiktas over the weekend and sit in third place, just three points behind leaders Galatasaray. It's hard to imagine Fenerbahce lifting the title after such a fractious campaign but with just three games to go, they are most definitely in with a shout.
3. Don't sell your best player In January
It's been a torrid week for the reigning champions Besiktas. The Black Eagles' Turkish Cup clash with Fenerbahce was abandoned after manager Senol Gunes was taken to hospital after being struck by an object thrown from the stands. Besiktas then suffered a 2-0 defeat in the Istanbul derby to rivals Galatasaray on Sunday, leaving them in fourth place and four points behind the leaders.
To make matters worse, both Pepe and Alvaro Negredo have been ruled out of the remainder of the season with injuries.
Offloading star striker Cenk Tosun to Everton in January is proving to be a costly mistake as Besiktas have struggled in front of goal following the Turkey international's departure. Tosun's replacement Vagner Love has managed just three goals while summer signing Negredo has seven league goals to his name.
4. Basaksehir can actually win the title
Basaksehir registered yet another victory on Sunday to keep within touching distance of leaders Galatasaray. The Istanbul minnows have proven to be a match for the big three and have a favourable set of fixtures leading into the final stretch.
While fans of the Istanbul giants don't want to admit it, Abdullah Avci's boys are in this title race and are showing no signs of letting up.
5. Galatasaray more than the Bafatembi Gomis team
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola once referred to Tottenham as the "Harry Kane team" well many Turkish Super Lig fans have accused Galatasaray of having an overreliance on Bafetembi Gomis. The France international has been in sublime form for the Lions this season, with an incredible 27 goals in 30 league games.
While Galatasaray have relied on the former Marseille star to dig them out of several dire situations this season, Gomis most definitely was not on form over the weekend.
The 32-year-old was ineffectual in attack and failed to convert from the penalty spot, which could have proven to be costly. However, Galatasaray managed to pull together with goals coming from Garry Rodriguez and an unlikely goalscorer in Fernando.
Eren Sarigul covers Turkish football for ESPN and Turkish-football.com. Follow him on Twitter: @_ErenSarigul