Galatasaray vs Lokomotiv Moscow
Champions League, Day 1
Galatasaray will host in Istanbul team Lokomotiv from Moscow. It's a pool D in question. The group where there isn't any of the current really big names of European football (Porto is the biggest club of these four) so probably all four sides hopes to progress further to the knockout stages.
Still, IMO the Russian team is with weakest chances. If you ask me, Lokomotiv is not a level for this competition. They have earned the group stage spot by winning the Russian Premier League last season. I have feeling they wouldn't be here now if had to go through qualifications. Probably they would share the same destiny as their city rival Spartak if had to play qualifications. Spartak Moscow who BTW is better team, was eliminated from Greek PAOK and even PAOK later failed to reach the group stage.
All in all, Lokomotiv enjoy right now the benefits from the last season success when they used the fact all big names in Russian football under performed big time, so Lokomotiv at the end won the league for the first time in more than a decade.
But they are not good enough for this level, that's clear. After all, just look them in the Russian Premier League this season, after seven rounds only 9 pts collected and two very slimy victories (both against some of the league worst teams), enough only for 10th place.
Now after 13 years after previous participation in the Champions League, Lokomotiv will start again, at first look in one of easier group but IMO hardly Russian side could count on any points, at least not on the road games.
This will be very tough visit for Lokomotiv. Cause, no doubt the Turks are fired up for this competition after winning Turkish Super Lig season ago. Maybe Galatasaray is not good as they were in their best days and when also won two European trophies but IMO they are good enough to be contender in this group.
Unlike Lokomotiv who had terrible start of the new season in the national league, Galatasaray was quite solid, they have won 4 out of 5 rounds in Turkey and right now are tied on the leading position.
I feel Galatasaray is more quality side plus home advantage should be huge factor here. As I said, the home team and their fans are fired up and such environment is not something Lokomotiv get used on.
The visiting team is with few absent players. Those are Aleksandr Kolomeytsev, Fedor Smolov and Maciej Rybus. For Galatasaray Emre Akbaba and Maicon Roque are questionable but probably will play.
Galatasaray vs Lokomotiv Moscow prediction
|Galatasaray||Pinnacle||1.74||8||3-0 WON (+5.92 units)|