Günes: For the first time we're not favourites

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The ‘Black Eagles’ are confident, and why not? Besiktas have qualified for the Champions League last 16 for the first time and also became the Turkish club ever to finish top of their group (without losing, too). Now Senol Günes and his side are looking forward to their showdown with FC Bayern.

“We’re playing against a great team, but we shouldn’t let ourselves go crazy,” commented Chilean defensive player Gary Medel. “We’re in a very positive mood.” President Fikret Orman said: “The opponents are strong but we’re no weak team either.” The dose of confidence with which Besiktas are going into tonight’s first leg at the Allianz Arena had been missing from the Turkish club. After a seven-year wait, Günes has led the side to two successive league titles.

Günes has built an attacking side with international experience. Among those in the squad are Portuguese Euro 2016 winners Ricardo Quaresma and Pepe, Arturo Vidal’s Chile teammate Medel, Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo, former Hoffenheim man Ryan Babel and, since January, the Brazilian Vagner Love, who was top scorer in the Süper Lig last season.

“Play our football”

However, Günes, whose side were the only ones to win all three of their away games in the group stage (against Leipzig, Porto and Monaco), has left the role of favourites to Bayern. “So far this season we’ve always seen ourselves as favourites. This is the first time we’re saying that we’re not going into the game as favourites,” he said on Monday. The 65 year-old stressed the experience of coach Jupp Heynckes and his players in the Champions League. “From the outside Bayern look stronger than us, but we’ll go out there and play our football.”

In practical terms, that means that Besiktas will look to disrupt the Reds’ build-up play early and try to score at least one goal, according to Günes, whose side are unbeaten in seven competitive games. Medel is expecting “a very difficult game. We need to be very clever and we want to get a good result. Then we’ll see what happens in the return leg.”

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