Noise of Besiktas fans 'intimidates' opposition, says striker Ryan Babel

Story highlights

  • Besiktas renowned for noisy fans
  • Babel says it "intimidates" opponents
  • Turkish side close to qualifying for UCL last 16

(CNN)It's the football club with fans who are so loud that an opposition player is said to have requested a substitution just half an hour into a game after complaining of hearing issues.

RB Leipzig's Timo Werner found that not even earplugs could shut out the deafening roar made by close to 40,000 supporters of Turkish club Besiktas.
While Werner left the field with his hands over his ears, manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, whose side lost the Champions League encounter 2-0, said many members of the team were shaken by the sheer volume of the home support.
    There are few more intimidating venues in world football than Vodafone Park in Istanbul and, for Besiktas, it's an atmosphere that has helped drive results on the pitch.
    The Istanbul side has been crowned Turkish champion for the past two years and currently sits atop its Champions League group, unbeaten after four games.
    Striker Ryan Babel, who has played for seven clubs in a number of top European Leagues, says it gives Besiktas a distinct advantage at home.
    "I'm definitely aware of how teams can be intimidated when they have to come here," Babel told CNN Sport's Christina Macfarlane.
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    "I also remember at the very early stages [of my career] when I actually came with Liverpool to play my first game against Besiktas at the old stadium.
    "That was a memory I'll never forget because the fans were very loud and, of course, it has an impact on the away team."
    There are times, though, when things boil over at Besiktas games.
    A Europa League clash against Lyon earlier this year was delayed by 45 minutes due to fan violence, which included firecrackers and projectiles being thrown.
    Both clubs were given bans from European competitions -- suspended for two years -- and fined €100,000 ($116,435).
    In order to avoid a ban being imposed, the Besiktas board asked supporters not to attend a Champions League game in Monaco in October.
    Besiktas and Lyon supporters clash before the Europa League match in April.

    Liverpool mismanagement

    The 30-year-old Babel signed for Besiktas earlier this year having played club football in England, Germany, Portugal, the UAE, and his native Netherlands -- for whom he has 44 international caps.
    The forward is enjoying a career renaissance with Besiktas. A rich vein of form at the start of the season was rewarded with a return to the Dutch national side after a six-year absence.
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    Babel signed for Liverpool from Ajax at the age of 20, and went on to make 91 Premier League appearances for the Reds. He admits, however, that he struggled under the guidance of then-manager Rafael Benitez.
    "I think I could have maybe been managed better," he says of his time at Anfield.
    "If that was the case maybe it could have been a different story. But afterwards it's always easy to say what I could have done and what I could have not done."
    Besiktas plays its next European game against Porto on November 21. Victory would secure qualification for the Champions League knock-out stages for the first time in the tournament's current format.