Istanbul Basaksehir – from champions to an embarrassing relegation battle in 12 months

Süper Lig champions İstanbul Başakşehir are on the brink of relegation, facing a drop back into the Turkish Football Federation’s First League for the first time in six years.

Founded in 1990 and spending the first 17 seasons battling their way through the Turkish Football Federation’s First and Second leagues, winning three titles along the way.

However, it wasn’t until their 24th season of being a recognised team that they would show their capabilities.

From the 2007-2008 season, they battled their way through the Turkish Süper Lig for six years before being relegated to the second tier. They remained there for one season before being promoted back up to the Süper Lig.

Başakşehir came back into the Süper Lig and did not take any prisoners, finishing fourth for the next two seasons, followed by a second, third and second-place finish in the next three years.

People finally sat up and took notice last season as they were crowned Turkish Süper Lig champions for the first time in their 29-year history.

Many fans of the opposing big three in the Turkish Lig – Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş – claimed that Başakşehir were lucky due to the poor performances of the teams around them.

However, statistics do not lie and winning 20 out of the 34 games played, drawing nine and losing five to finish on 69 points was an excellent feat for a team that is not one of the big three in Turkey.

Last season’s champions now have to say goodbye to their title as normal service has resumed.

Barring a collapse, Beşiktaş look likely to be the champions as they sit pretty on top of the Süper Lig table, four points clear on 70 points, having played a game less than Fenerbahçe directly below them and with two games left to play.

The title is no longer reachable for Galatasaray, so if Beşiktaş win their next two games, the title will be heading to Vodafone Park.

Başakşehir sit in 17th place, one place above the drop zone but level on points with Kayserispor on 33 points.

With seven games to go, their tally is under half the points they ended up with last season.

If they stay up, there will undoubtedly be some changes, but to go from champions to an embarrassing relegation battle will surely spell the end for plenty of people at the club.