Turkey welcome Serbia to the Turk Telecom Arena in Istanbul on Wednesday evening in matchday four of the ongoing UEFA Nations League.
Turkey and Serbia make up the bottom two of group B3, which also features Russia and Hungary. This comes as a big surprise because they are arguably the two strongest teams in the group.
Serbia have only earned one point from their three games so far, and will be desperate to swap spots with Turkey.
The home team only have two points so far despite dominating possession in all three of their games. They have been wasteful when it comes to converting chances, and have seldom shown any real urgency.
However, with half of the group stage campaign already concluded, now is the time to bounce back and assert their authority over their opponents.
Turkey vs Serbia head-to-head
Turkey and Serbia have clashed only once before, in the second matchday of the ongoing UEFA Nations League competition. Turkey, who were the visitors on that occasion, thoroughly dominated the match against the Serbians, who were reduced to 10 men after captain Aleksandr Kolarov was dismissed.
Despite their numerical advantage, Turkey could not breach the home team's defence and the match ended in a 0-0 stalemate. Both teams are experiencing a poor run of form heading into this match-up, with one win each in their last five outings. A victory on Wednesday would provide a much-needed boost in morale and confidence.
Turkey form: D-D-D-L-W
Serbia form: L-W-D-L-D
Turkey vs Serbia team news
Talented young goalkeeper Uğurcan Çakır could replace Mert Günok for this meeting, although the backline that featured in the 1-1 draw against Russia should retain their places. One change could be the inclusion of Leicester City's center-back Çağlar Söyüncü, who has now sat on the bench for two consecutive games.
In midfield, 23-year-old Cengiz Ünder could be handed a start on the right-wing, replacing Efecan Karaca. Striker Burak Yılmaz will want to return to goalscoring form, while AC Milan midfielder Hakan Çalhanoğlu will hope to continue his excellent club form with the national team.
Suspensions: Ozan Kabak
Serbian captain Aleksandr Kolarov will be back for this game, having served his one-match ban in the nation's 1-0 loss to Hungary. Star midfielder Sergej Milinkovi-Savic should return to the starting line-up after receiving a well-deserved off-day in their last fixture, while Aleksandar Mitrovic should also start up-front.
Turkey vs Serbia Predicted XI
Turkey Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Uğurcan Çakır; Umut Meraş; Merih Demiral; Çağlar Söyüncü; Mehmet Zeki Çelik; Mahmut Tekdemir; Ozan Tufan; Kenan Karaman; Hakan Çalhanoğlu; Cengiz Ünder; Burak Yılmaz.
Serbia Predicted XI (3-5-2): Predrag Rajković; Nikola Milenković; Stefan Mitrović; Aleksandr Kolarov; Mijat Gaćinović; Luka Milivojević; Dusan Tadić; Nemanja Gudelj; Filip Mladenović; Luka Jović; Aleksandar Mitrović.
Turkey vs Serbia Prediction
The home team have played some really good football at times in their three UEFA Nations League matches so far but have failed to secure the result they have often merited.
The best example of this is the last time these two teams met, when Turkey failed to capitalise on the Serbians being reduced to 10 men. However, at home, we expect the Turks to show their dominance through the scoreline and not just the underlying statistics.
The Serbians will likely field a strong team filled with a number of experienced players, but the squad as a unit hasn't been firing of late. They have scored only one goal in the group stage campaign so far, and will hope for strikers Mitrovic and Jovic to quickly regain some confidence. Regardless, Turkey should emerge victorious if they have a clinical outing against Serbia.
Prediction: Turkey 2-1 Serbia.
Published 12 Oct 2020, 13:29 IST