Martin Skrtel

Your Essential Guide: Istanbul Basaksehir

Saturday 10 October 2020 09:00

Manchester United take on Istanbul Basaksehir in Group H of this season's UEFA Champions League. But what do you know about our new Turkish opponents?

United have played Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, Besiktas and Bursaspor before in the UEFA Champions League, but this season's Turkish challenge comes from an unknown source.

So, in order to become a bit more familiar with our fifth opponent from Turkey, here's a bit of background on their history, stadium, manager and player. Plus everything else you could possibly want to know...


Istanbul Basaksehir was founded as ISKI SK in 1990, and won their first Turkish league title last season, coming out on top in a title race with Trabzonspor. After several name changes and promotions, the Istanbul side made their debut in the Süper Lig in the 2006/07 season. They stayed up until the 2012/13 campaign, and then immediately achieved promotion once again after relegation to the second tier.

In 2014, the club's name was changed to İstanbul Başakşehir Futbol Kulübü. They quickly established themselves as one of the top sides in the country, finishing fourth in two consecutive campaigns in 2014/15 and 2015/16, before winning the title for the first time last term. 

United's Champions League squad announced


The club has submitted our A list of players to UEFA ahead of the start of the group stage.


The club, playing in orange home shirts, rents the Fatih Terim Stadium from the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Basaksehir had played at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium before their move, which came ahead of their return to the top flight in 2014/15. It has a capacity of 17,156.


Okan Buruk is the manager for the club and has managed the side since June 2019, winning the league in his debut campaign. Before making the move to Basaksehir, he had coached six other Turkish clubs, among them Göztepe and Sivasspor. In the 2017/18 season, he won the Turkish cup with Akhisarspor. As a player, he featured in both the Euros and World Cup for his country, playing 54 times and scoring eight goals in his international career. He spent most of his club career in Turkey with Galatasaray, but also had stints at Internazionale (2001-2004) and Besiktas before ending his career at Basaksehir in 2010.


Last season's champions have had a dreadful start to the current Süper Lig and, at the time of writing, sit bottom of the table and are yet to score a goal. The Istanbul outfit lost 2-0 in their first three games of the season – including a defeat to local rivals Galatasaray.  Their only point of the campaign so far came in their last match: a 0-0 draw to Göztepe. 


The squad features a lot of familiar faces from the Premier League. Most notably for United fans, Rafael swapped out Lyon for Istanbul Basaksehir in the summer and the Brazilian full-back and United fan-favorite is looking forward to a return to Old Trafford with his new club. Among other notable names we find former Chelsea and Newcastle striker Demba Ba, former Liverpool centre-back Martin Skrtel and Belgian Nacer Chadli, who used to play for Tottenham Hotspur.  

Rafael will make a return to Old Trafford this November


We travel to Istanbul for a 17:55 GMT kick-off on Wednesday 4 November, before welcoming Basaksehir to Old Trafford three weeks later on Tuesday 24 November. Kick-off for that game is 20:00 GMT.

In 16 matches against Turkish opposition in European competitions, United have come out on top eight times, drawing three and losing five. The Reds will be looking to add more wins to that statistic in our 17th and 18th battle with a Turkish side, come November. 

The new season is here. Our 2020/21 home, away and third kits are available now from United Direct.