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BERBATOV SEEKS REPEAT

Posted on 17 October 2006  - 12:00

It's almost five years to the day that Dimitar Berbatov travelled to Istanbul for a massive Champions League clash - the match is still fresh in his memory.

It's almost five years to the day that Dimitar Berbatov travelled to Istanbul for a massive Champions League clash - the match is still fresh in his memory.

Turn the clock back to October 23, 2001 and Dimitar's Bayer Leverkusen beat Fenerbache - one of the city's 'big three' alongside Galatasaray and our UEFA Cup opponents Besiktas - in the Turkish capital to secure a place in the second group stage of the competition.

It was a key step on the road to the final for the Bundesliga side and striker Dimitar would later come off the bench after only 39 minutes of the main event at Hampden Park as his side lost 2-1 to Real Madrid and a famous volley from Zinedine Zidane.

The Bulgarian hitman - only 20 at the time - was an unused substitute against Fenerbache but remembers the atmosphere that he has few doubts we'll encounter against Besiktas on Thursday night.

"The main thing from my own experience with Leverkusen is that we won the game," reflected Dimitar. "It was a difficult game and the crowd were very fanatical, they support their team all the way whether they win or lose and they are so loud you cannot hear your team-mate two metres away!

"I loved it though. That support gives you real power. I think when you when you have crowds like that it makes you want to play better, Besiktas are a big club and this is a difficult game for us.

"I've played in Istanbul before, we won that time and we believe we can do it again. We respect them, but we have a number of experienced players here and we have nothing to fear."

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