The roster for the Turkish national team was announced for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Germany and Azerbaijan. The roster is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Volkan Demirel (Fenerbahçe), Hakan Arıkan, Cenk Gönen (Beşiktaş), Onur Recep Kıvrak (Trabzonspor)
Defenders: Gökhan Gönül (Fenerbahçe), Sabri Sarıoğlu, Servet Çetin, Hakan Kadir Balta (Galatasaray), Ömer Erdoğan (Bursaspor), İbrahim Toraman, İsmail Köybaşı (Beşiktaş), Ceyhun Gülselam (Trabzonspor)
Midfielders: Hamit Altıntop (Bayern Münih), Mehmet Aurelio, Necip Uysal (Beşiktaş), Selçuk Şahin, Emre Belözoğlu, Özer Hurmacı (Fenerbahçe), Nuri Şahin (Borussia Dortmund), Selçuk İnan (Trabzonspor),
Arda Turan (Galatasaray)
Forwards: Tuncay Şanlı (Stoke City), Halil Altıntop (Eintracht Frankfurt), Semih Şentürk (Fenerbahçe), Mevlüt Erdinç (Paris Saint Germain), Nihat Kahveci (Beşiktaş), Sercan Yıldırım (Bursaspor)
There are a couple of interesting call-ups for Turkey with this roster. Although the roster is nearly the same as it was for the matches last month, two call-ups particularly stand out.
Cenk Gönen is the first standout call-up. Gönen has proven himself to be a goalkeeper who has made fewer mistakes than his counterpart on Beşiktaş, Hakan Arikan. Arikan has been at the wrong end of mistakes made in the Beşiktaş net in the previous two weeks of matches. Arikan was saved in the previous week against Antalyaspor with a potent Beşiktaş offense. But it seems that this might be Gönen's time at Beşiktaş. Gönen has certainly earned his call up here, although it's highly doubtful he will play against either two countries.
The other interesting call-up is Özer Hurmacı. Hurmacı has barely featured for Fenerbahçe this season. Most of the time, Hurmacı has been featured coming off the bench. He has barely featured in the last few weeks for Fenerbahçe. He has a lot of potential, but it is still yet to be seen whether that potential is to be realized.
Perhaps the most glaring omission is Mehmet Topal of Valencia. From reading reports from blogs and watching highlights, it seems as if Topal has been one of the key acquisitions for Valencia this season. Topal has been quiet, but does his job effectively, and is starting to become a key player in the Valencia squad. Topal would be a far better choice than the ageing Mehmet Aurelio or the mediocre Selcuk Sahin.
Turkey is scheduled to play Germany in Berlin on Friday, October 8th and Azerbaijan on Tuesday, October 12th. The match against Germany will pit both nations who have not dropped points so far in the qualifying campaign. One of the interesting stories coming out of that match will be the crowd make-up, as Turks make up the largest minority group in Germany. The match has the possibility to become a "home" match for the Turkish national team. Four days later, Turkey will travel to Baku to face Azerbaijan. This is more of a battle of brotherly nations, as both countries share similar cultures and speak different dialects of the same language.
Turkey will have a huge test coming up against the third place team from the most recent World Cup. Even if Turkey does not win against Germany, they can't let that potential loss affect them against Azerbaijan. Turkey has been known as the most erratic national team on earth, and they will have to be on their A game to get maximum points in perhaps their biggest challenge early on in the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.