Besiktas will hope to make amends for the their last meeting with English opponents when they entertain Manchester United, last season’s beaten finalists, for the sides’ Group B opener.
Two years ago the Turkish side suffered an 8-0 thrashing at the hands of Liverpool – their heaviest loss in Europe and the biggest defeat in the history of the Champions league
Besiktas coach Mustafa Denizli has set his sights on qualifying for the knockout stages and sees home form as key to that ambition.
“We aim to qualify,” he said. “According to my studies, seven or eight points will be enough to take us into the next round. There are powerful teams in this group and the Manchester United tie is an exciting challenge to start with. United are one of the favourites to win the Champions League and any points that we take from them will ease our job dramatically.
“Every team looks to get three points when playing at home. With the help of the Besiktas fans, we will get a result. We want to show how strong Beşiktaş are at home and how we play to win. We haven’t made a bright start in the league, but this will neither negatively affect us nor sap our morale.”
Meanwhile, veteran United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is looking forward to the fresh challenge of a new season of European football.
“We lost to Barcelona in last year’s Champions League final but now we move on; new excitement, fresh challenge,” he said. “Everybody gets defeated, it’s important to learn lessons.
“We have a young team and young players who are improving all the time. Although we lost Cristiano Ronaldo we’re still a powerful side.
“We have been in Turkey three times before, twice for Galatasaray and once for Fenerbahçe. Beşiktaş lost 3-0 to Galatasaray in the derby match last weekend but they were without some key players like Rodrigo Tello and Bobo. Their team consists of wise players and they play with short passes.
“The experience we had over the last few years makes us very powerful. Our group is a hard one and it seems that we’ll travel a lot. I cannot make a comparison between our opponents in the group because in terms of quality there is no difference.”
Ferguson will be without Edwin van der Sar, Gabriel Obertan, Gary Neville, Owen Hargreaves and Rafael (shoulder).