Kocaelispor are a newcomer but they are super strong financially. In fact, they were relegated from this league two seasons ago, but came back with a budget of more than 4 million euros. They signed four players from promoted team Samsunspor. One of them is Douglas Tanque who was 4th top scorer in the league last season, while two more defensive players Burak Oksuz and Emir Ortakaya from Samsunspor were added in the last few days. The team is relatively new, so a time to adapt is needed. In the opening two rounds, they lost to promotion candidates Manisa (where they totally dominated, but were unlucky) and Eyupspor. The only absence today is Yusuf Gultekin (suspended).
Altay did an incredible job and avoided relegation last season. Only two teams were relegated last season due to an earthquake in February, which helped Altay. This season are the main candidates for relegation, and these are the reasons. At first, they have a transfer ban and they need a miracle to lift the ban (due to debts to former players). They lost two key foreign players Naderi (31/2) and Bjorkander (30/1) in the summer. Currently, they only have one foreign player in the squad, Marco Paixao, who was last season’s top scorer of the league. They heavily rely on them again, but he is 39 years old and is back in training and expected to play in this game, maybe even in the starting lineup. Another striker is 42-year-old Murat Uluc, who quit his career in 2018, but due to a transfer ban, he renewed his player license. They are playing deep and tight defence, because the organiser and main defender is 42 years old Ibrahim Ozturk. Simply this team is full of „old“ players, and due to luck and on experience, they took a win against Tuzlaspor in the last round.
Kocaelispor made a poor start to the season (playing with two promotion candidates), but they have a quality team and big fun base and I think that will be extremely motivated to celebrate the first win in the season.