Interview

Past and Present

Sergen Yalçın has a lot of history with the Turkish club. But now that the former player is in charge, he has his sights firmly set on his team’s Champions League future

Beşiktaş manager Sergen Yalçın, who has a storied history with the famous Turkish club, looks ahead to his beloved club’s Champions League campaign

On Wednesday, Beşiktaş will host Dortmund in their first Champions League match since 2018. Their most successful run was back in 1987, when they reached the European Cup quarter-finals. Can they reach such heights again? Coach Sergen Yalçın errs on the side of caution. The former midfielder had two spells at Beşiktaş as a player, winning the title three times as a player and again as a coach last season. He was also heavily involved in a famous win over the current Champions League holders 18 years ago but, as he explains below, is disinclined to let the past inform his club’s future…

Talk to Beşiktaş fans about you and they all refer to your goals against Chelsea in the 2003 group stage.

We played with ten men for approximately 45 minutes and we won2-0. It was all about the players acting together and not giving up the match. It was very important to me that I scored the goals and it counts as a beautiful memory for me, but I can’t really ignore my ten friends who also competed that day – their struggle and their fight. As for the performance of a team, how it should play, how to stand up in the Champions League, that match is a real example.

How does it feel to now be head coach?

When I first started, the situation here wasn’t all good. I wasn’t that good either. I mean, things were not going very well for the team or on my side. But thanks to our club and fans, we’ve had full support. To reward their support, we are trying our best. I succeeded a lot of times when I was a footballer here, but such wins are really different as head coach. Going through those experiences changes your character and takes you to a different level. A different kind of happiness.

European Cups carry a great deal of importance for Turkish football.

Well, the Champions League is a very different level. This is where big clubs compete. We want to do our best and succeed as a club. We want to aim big and would like to represent our country in the best way we can, but this level is difficult.

Sergen Yalçın in action against Chelsea in the Champions League

Beşiktaş manager Sergen Yalçın, who has a storied history with the famous Turkish club, looks ahead to his beloved club’s Champions League campaign

On Wednesday, Beşiktaş will host Dortmund in their first Champions League match since 2018. Their most successful run was back in 1987, when they reached the European Cup quarter-finals. Can they reach such heights again? Coach Sergen Yalçın errs on the side of caution. The former midfielder had two spells at Beşiktaş as a player, winning the title three times as a player and again as a coach last season. He was also heavily involved in a famous win over the current Champions League holders 18 years ago but, as he explains below, is disinclined to let the past inform his club’s future…

Talk to Beşiktaş fans about you and they all refer to your goals against Chelsea in the 2003 group stage.

We played with ten men for approximately 45 minutes and we won2-0. It was all about the players acting together and not giving up the match. It was very important to me that I scored the goals and it counts as a beautiful memory for me, but I can’t really ignore my ten friends who also competed that day – their struggle and their fight. As for the performance of a team, how it should play, how to stand up in the Champions League, that match is a real example.

How does it feel to now be head coach?

When I first started, the situation here wasn’t all good. I wasn’t that good either. I mean, things were not going very well for the team or on my side. But thanks to our club and fans, we’ve had full support. To reward their support, we are trying our best. I succeeded a lot of times when I was a footballer here, but such wins are really different as head coach. Going through those experiences changes your character and takes you to a different level. A different kind of happiness.

European Cups carry a great deal of importance for Turkish football.

Well, the Champions League is a very different level. This is where big clubs compete. We want to do our best and succeed as a club. We want to aim big and would like to represent our country in the best way we can, but this level is difficult.

Sergen Yalçın in action against Chelsea in the Champions League
Read the full story
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Can Beşiktaş make their mark?

The difference has got larger, to be honest. Those teams have much larger budgets than us. Let’s say our budget consists of €50m – there are teams that have budgets over €1bn. And what does this difference bring about? The quality of the players. Most of these teams have top-level players. So we can compete but only to a certain level. Can we become the surprise team? If we insist on having high aims, it would cost us a lot. We will get disappointed in the end. That’s why, if we know ourselves and where we stand, we won’t get disappointed. And this is what we want to do, actually. Of course we should try until the end at a maximum level, but fate will show how far we can go.

What would a successful campaign look like for this club?

We will play six games. You could say that two wins can be regarded as the success criteria; three draws might be as well. In our hearts we would like to win all six matches but this would be a dream. And I am not the kind of a person who lives on dreams – I act according to reality. If I say that we will progress through the group and play in the quarter-finals, it wouldn’t be an appropriate aim.

What kind of performance will you be looking for from your players?

Let me tell you about this in a simple way: we want a squad of players who run, fight and play aggressively. A squad of players who don’t give up until the last minute.

And finally, what does Beşiktaş mean to you?

One of the most valuable things in my life is, for sure, this club. I started my football life here. I did my first training session at theŞeref Stadium when I was at school. My first start as a footballer, my first goal, my first championship – I had most of my firsts in my football life here. So of course Beşiktaş means a lot to me. Also how our fans have appreciated me and believed in me – they make me feel strong. I feel very confident and safe. It’s a feeling that you can’t really describe in words.

Beşiktaş manager Sergen Yalçın, who has a storied history with the famous Turkish club, looks ahead to his beloved club’s Champions League campaign

On Wednesday, Beşiktaş will host Dortmund in their first Champions League match since 2018. Their most successful run was back in 1987, when they reached the European Cup quarter-finals. Can they reach such heights again? Coach Sergen Yalçın errs on the side of caution. The former midfielder had two spells at Beşiktaş as a player, winning the title three times as a player and again as a coach last season. He was also heavily involved in a famous win over the current Champions League holders 18 years ago but, as he explains below, is disinclined to let the past inform his club’s future…

Talk to Beşiktaş fans about you and they all refer to your goals against Chelsea in the 2003 group stage.

We played with ten men for approximately 45 minutes and we won2-0. It was all about the players acting together and not giving up the match. It was very important to me that I scored the goals and it counts as a beautiful memory for me, but I can’t really ignore my ten friends who also competed that day – their struggle and their fight. As for the performance of a team, how it should play, how to stand up in the Champions League, that match is a real example.

How does it feel to now be head coach?

When I first started, the situation here wasn’t all good. I wasn’t that good either. I mean, things were not going very well for the team or on my side. But thanks to our club and fans, we’ve had full support. To reward their support, we are trying our best. I succeeded a lot of times when I was a footballer here, but such wins are really different as head coach. Going through those experiences changes your character and takes you to a different level. A different kind of happiness.

European Cups carry a great deal of importance for Turkish football.

Well, the Champions League is a very different level. This is where big clubs compete. We want to do our best and succeed as a club. We want to aim big and would like to represent our country in the best way we can, but this level is difficult.

Sergen Yalçın in action against Chelsea in the Champions League
Past and Present
Interview

Past and Present

Sergen Yalçın has a lot of history with the Turkish club. But now that the former player is in charge, he has his sights firmly set on his team’s Champions League future

Beşiktaş manager Sergen Yalçın, who has a storied history with the famous Turkish club, looks ahead to his beloved club’s Champions League campaign

On Wednesday, Beşiktaş will host Dortmund in their first Champions League match since 2018. Their most successful run was back in 1987, when they reached the European Cup quarter-finals. Can they reach such heights again? Coach Sergen Yalçın errs on the side of caution. The former midfielder had two spells at Beşiktaş as a player, winning the title three times as a player and again as a coach last season. He was also heavily involved in a famous win over the current Champions League holders 18 years ago but, as he explains below, is disinclined to let the past inform his club’s future…

Talk to Beşiktaş fans about you and they all refer to your goals against Chelsea in the 2003 group stage.

We played with ten men for approximately 45 minutes and we won2-0. It was all about the players acting together and not giving up the match. It was very important to me that I scored the goals and it counts as a beautiful memory for me, but I can’t really ignore my ten friends who also competed that day – their struggle and their fight. As for the performance of a team, how it should play, how to stand up in the Champions League, that match is a real example.

How does it feel to now be head coach?

When I first started, the situation here wasn’t all good. I wasn’t that good either. I mean, things were not going very well for the team or on my side. But thanks to our club and fans, we’ve had full support. To reward their support, we are trying our best. I succeeded a lot of times when I was a footballer here, but such wins are really different as head coach. Going through those experiences changes your character and takes you to a different level. A different kind of happiness.

European Cups carry a great deal of importance for Turkish football.

Well, the Champions League is a very different level. This is where big clubs compete. We want to do our best and succeed as a club. We want to aim big and would like to represent our country in the best way we can, but this level is difficult.

Sergen Yalçın in action against Chelsea in the Champions League
Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Beşiktaş manager Sergen Yalçın, who has a storied history with the famous Turkish club, looks ahead to his beloved club’s Champions League campaign

On Wednesday, Beşiktaş will host Dortmund in their first Champions League match since 2018. Their most successful run was back in 1987, when they reached the European Cup quarter-finals. Can they reach such heights again? Coach Sergen Yalçın errs on the side of caution. The former midfielder had two spells at Beşiktaş as a player, winning the title three times as a player and again as a coach last season. He was also heavily involved in a famous win over the current Champions League holders 18 years ago but, as he explains below, is disinclined to let the past inform his club’s future…

Talk to Beşiktaş fans about you and they all refer to your goals against Chelsea in the 2003 group stage.

We played with ten men for approximately 45 minutes and we won2-0. It was all about the players acting together and not giving up the match. It was very important to me that I scored the goals and it counts as a beautiful memory for me, but I can’t really ignore my ten friends who also competed that day – their struggle and their fight. As for the performance of a team, how it should play, how to stand up in the Champions League, that match is a real example.

How does it feel to now be head coach?

When I first started, the situation here wasn’t all good. I wasn’t that good either. I mean, things were not going very well for the team or on my side. But thanks to our club and fans, we’ve had full support. To reward their support, we are trying our best. I succeeded a lot of times when I was a footballer here, but such wins are really different as head coach. Going through those experiences changes your character and takes you to a different level. A different kind of happiness.

European Cups carry a great deal of importance for Turkish football.

Well, the Champions League is a very different level. This is where big clubs compete. We want to do our best and succeed as a club. We want to aim big and would like to represent our country in the best way we can, but this level is difficult.

Sergen Yalçın in action against Chelsea in the Champions League
Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Can Beşiktaş make their mark?

The difference has got larger, to be honest. Those teams have much larger budgets than us. Let’s say our budget consists of €50m – there are teams that have budgets over €1bn. And what does this difference bring about? The quality of the players. Most of these teams have top-level players. So we can compete but only to a certain level. Can we become the surprise team? If we insist on having high aims, it would cost us a lot. We will get disappointed in the end. That’s why, if we know ourselves and where we stand, we won’t get disappointed. And this is what we want to do, actually. Of course we should try until the end at a maximum level, but fate will show how far we can go.

What would a successful campaign look like for this club?

We will play six games. You could say that two wins can be regarded as the success criteria; three draws might be as well. In our hearts we would like to win all six matches but this would be a dream. And I am not the kind of a person who lives on dreams – I act according to reality. If I say that we will progress through the group and play in the quarter-finals, it wouldn’t be an appropriate aim.

What kind of performance will you be looking for from your players?

Let me tell you about this in a simple way: we want a squad of players who run, fight and play aggressively. A squad of players who don’t give up until the last minute.

And finally, what does Beşiktaş mean to you?

One of the most valuable things in my life is, for sure, this club. I started my football life here. I did my first training session at theŞeref Stadium when I was at school. My first start as a footballer, my first goal, my first championship – I had most of my firsts in my football life here. So of course Beşiktaş means a lot to me. Also how our fans have appreciated me and believed in me – they make me feel strong. I feel very confident and safe. It’s a feeling that you can’t really describe in words.

Beşiktaş manager Sergen Yalçın, who has a storied history with the famous Turkish club, looks ahead to his beloved club’s Champions League campaign

On Wednesday, Beşiktaş will host Dortmund in their first Champions League match since 2018. Their most successful run was back in 1987, when they reached the European Cup quarter-finals. Can they reach such heights again? Coach Sergen Yalçın errs on the side of caution. The former midfielder had two spells at Beşiktaş as a player, winning the title three times as a player and again as a coach last season. He was also heavily involved in a famous win over the current Champions League holders 18 years ago but, as he explains below, is disinclined to let the past inform his club’s future…

Talk to Beşiktaş fans about you and they all refer to your goals against Chelsea in the 2003 group stage.

We played with ten men for approximately 45 minutes and we won2-0. It was all about the players acting together and not giving up the match. It was very important to me that I scored the goals and it counts as a beautiful memory for me, but I can’t really ignore my ten friends who also competed that day – their struggle and their fight. As for the performance of a team, how it should play, how to stand up in the Champions League, that match is a real example.

How does it feel to now be head coach?

When I first started, the situation here wasn’t all good. I wasn’t that good either. I mean, things were not going very well for the team or on my side. But thanks to our club and fans, we’ve had full support. To reward their support, we are trying our best. I succeeded a lot of times when I was a footballer here, but such wins are really different as head coach. Going through those experiences changes your character and takes you to a different level. A different kind of happiness.

European Cups carry a great deal of importance for Turkish football.

Well, the Champions League is a very different level. This is where big clubs compete. We want to do our best and succeed as a club. We want to aim big and would like to represent our country in the best way we can, but this level is difficult.

Sergen Yalçın in action against Chelsea in the Champions League
Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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