Turkey's Galatasaray and Kayseri Erciyesspor clubs are joining in the UEFA Cup first-round, first-leg actions Thursday evening, local Today's Zaman (Time) reported.
The Galatasaray Lions faces Swiss side Sion away while second-division Kayseri Erciyesspor also takes on Spanish division one giant Atletico Madrid on the road.
The Lions, who won the UEFA Cup and European Super Cup in 2000, are the favorites even though the match takes place in Switzerland.
With newcomers Brazilian playmaker Lincoln and Senegalese striker Shabani Nonda (nicknamed Anaconda by the fans) performing well above expectations, the Lions are sweeping aside domestic opponents with enthralling arrogance.
The Galatasaray Lions, also known as "Avrupa Fatihi" (European Conqueror), belong in Europe and that's where they perform best. Their faithful fans therefore are expecting the best out of their team Thursday evening.
Founded in 1909, Sion is an obscure side as far as European soccer is concerned. It has won the Swiss championship twice (in 1992 and 1997) and the Swiss Cup 10 times.
Meanwhile, the other match Thursday evening pits Kayseri Erciyesspor, demoted to second division last season, against Atletico Madrid. Turkish fans expect Erciyesspor, which surprised everyone by eliminating Israeli powerhouse Maccabi 4-2 (1-1, 3-1) on aggregate in the third qualifying round, to accomplish a similar feat against the Spaniards.
The big spending Atletico Madrid stumbled to a 1-1 draw at promoted Real Murcia in the Primera Liga on Saturday. So there is not doubt that the Spanish side will be aiming for victory to appease its fans.