For many Feyenoord supporters, this is the focal point in the season. A tough road lies ahead, but it would be one of the top recent achievements if the Rotterdam club was to fight their way into the group stages of Europe’s most prestigious club football competition.

feybesIt will not be easy, as progression against Besiktas yields one of Arsenal, Bilbao, Porto, Leverkusen or Napoli, but before looking at those teams it’s important to consider the opponents from Turkey.

Besiktas are a very talented side, who have been in the headlines recently for signing Chelsea cast-off Demba Ba, but they weren’t even meant to be in the competition. They finished third in last year’s Turkish Super Lig, and were only granted a place due to the match-fixing scandal surrounding Fenerbahce.

Feyenoord will be fielding a line-up which is slightly different to the one which provided such a good season in 2013/14. It appears that the likes of van Beek and Te Vrede may appear in the squad, at centre-back and striker respectively, and it will be a good test of the abilities of the young players. It will be particularly interesting to see how Jean-Paul Boëtius and Ruben Schaken can threaten and terrorise the Besiktas back line consisting of Koybasi, Sivok, Franco and Gulum or Motta. The midfield battle will also be crucial, and if Vilhena and Clasie can dictate the game, with Immers assisting on the attacking side, then Feyenoord can certainly threaten.

For Besiktas, the key threat will come from the forward Demba Ba. If De Vrij (who might not even still be at Feyenoord) and Boulahrouz or van Beek can keep them quiet over the two legs, the Rotterdam side should have no problem progressing. It is far easier said than done however, and with other key players such as former PSV midfielder Atiba Hutchinson, and Olcay Sahan, it will be a very intriguing match-up, especially back in Istanbul depending on the first leg situation.

It will be an interesting battle between Rutten, the Feyenoord boss for who this tie will be his first competitive game as boss, and Slaven Bilic, the Croatian Besiktas boss. Whoever gets their tactics right will have earnt their progression and I for one can’t wait to see the various battles all over the pitch.

In truth, this tie boils down to the second-leg, in my opinion. It may sound like an obvious statement, but even if Feyenoord was to win the first leg, Besiktas could turn it around at the Ataturk Olympic stadium . An intriguing encounter, my heart says that if Feyenoord get it right they can go through with little problem, and the momentum will serve them well in the pursuit of the CL Group Stage.

Oliver Fisher (9 Posts)

Aspiring Sports Journalist and huge football fan, from Leeds, England. Follow @olifisher on Twitter