Partizan vs Besiktas – Thursday, August 23, 19:30 BST/20:30 CEST – Stadion FK Partizan, Belgrade, Serbia
Two legs of black and white await in the playoffs of the Europa League. Partizan, also known as the Crno-beli (black and whites) are facing Turkish club Besiktas, who are also known as the Kara Kartallar (black eagles).
It is the sort of matchup that will provide heartbreak for one set of fans, joy for another set of fans and fireworks for the neutral. Partizan will set the stage for the first leg at home in Belgrade.
The Stadion FK Partizan will without a doubt be rocking on Thursday night. The Crno-beli have been unbeaten in Europa League qualifying this season and impressed when they eliminated Danish side Nordsjælland in the previous round of this competition.
Furthermore, Partizan have also begun to rebuild from the post-Yugoslav ashes. For years the club struggled to get a foothold in European competitions. Finally last season the club not only qualified for the group stage of the Europa League but also managed to advance to the knockout stage.
Gaining that European pedigree was important as the club finished second in a group with Dynamo Kyiv, Young Boys and Skënderbeu. Hence, returning to the group stage is considered just one step as the club hope to continue the rebuild by going deep in a European competition.
Standing in their way in the playoffs are Turkish giants Besiktas. The Kara Kartallar impressed in the Champions League group stage last season.
Drawn in a group with Porto, RB Leipzig and Monaco the Turkish club finished top of the group. They then, however, were butchered by Bayern with the Germans winning the two-legged tie 8-1 on aggregate.
Domestically, the club finished fourth in the Süper Lig behind Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and up-and-coming club Istanbul Basaksehir. As a result, Besiktas will have to make due with the Europa League this season.
Getting there Besiktas will have to go through hell in Belgrade before their fans will set the stage for a fantastic spectacle at the Vodafone Park in Istanbul. Talent favours the Kara Kartallar in both legs, but the Crno-beli may just get a positive result at home in Belgrade.
Partizan vs Besiktas – Players to look out for:
Marko Janković #10 – Partizan
Partizan are a talent factory for half of Europe. But not everyone is successful right away after making a move abroad. Every once in a while the Crno-beli have to bring back talent to allow that player additional playing time. Marko Janković is such a case. The Montenegrin was developed by Partizan but left the club four years ago for Olympiacos Piräus. A loan to Maribor did not, however, work out as planned and ultimately Janković returned to Belgrade. Playing on the right-wing the 23-year-old still has a bright future, however, and could still make the step to a bigger European league.
Ricardo Quaresma #7 – Besiktas
Ricardo Quaresma is a beautiful player, the sort of footballer, who will dazzle you with a bit of magic. A freekick, a shot from a distance or a trick out of this world. Every once in a while Quaresma highlights his unlimited potential that for one reason, or another, was never completely fulfilled. Hence, while Quaresma is no Ronaldo, he is the sort of player people come to watch for a bit of magic and an excellent reason to tune into this match on Thursday.
Partizan vs Besiktas – Match Stats
- Partizan finished as league runners-up in Serbia in 2017/18
- Beşiktaş were fourth in Turkey in the 2017/18 season
- Black Eagles beat Partizan 4-0 and 2-1 in 2014/15 #UEL group stage
- Partizan unbeaten in 2018/19 #UEL qualifying: W5 D1
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Partizan vs Besiktas – 2-1
Partizan vs Besiktas – Lineups
Stojković – Miletić, Marković, Valiente, Miletić – Zdjelar, Kosović – Zakarić, Pantić, Janković – Gomes
Head Coach: Zoran Mirković
Zengin – Adriano, Pepe, Vida, Gönül – Uysal, Medel – Babel, Özyakup, Quaresma – Negredo
Head Coach: Senol Günes
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.