The court of arbitration for sport will decide the club's Champions League fate the morning after the second leg at the Emirates
In Istanbul only the Bosphorus separates Galatasaray and Fenerbahce, the strait that winds from the Black Sea to the Marmara like an entrenched battle line in a city that straddles Europe and Asia. It is a reminder of how the two powerhouses in the Turkish game are continents apart, with one looking over its shoulder amid a match-fixing storm and the other looking forward to defending a league title won last season by 10 points.
Fenerbahce are embroiled in the match-fixing scandal that has connections with organised crime and allegedly runs through to the top of the club. They have been ousted as the top Turkish team by Galatasaray, who have returned to the force of old and are favourites for the Super Lig title after their dominant victory last season.
On the eve of their Champions League qualifier with Arsenal, the future for Fenerbahce is uncertain. Allegations of match-fixing that first surfaced in 2011 will draw to a conclusion when the court of arbitration for sport (Cas) makes a ruling either in favour of the club, which denies the charges, or Uefa, on 28 August – the day before the Champions League group stage draw.
To avoid a major headache, Uefa will surely hope that Arsenal can overcome their Turkish opponents and advance from the qualifying round. If Fenerbahce are victorious over the two legs and are then found guilty, the ramifications for the tournament will be serious.
Fenerbahce would then be expelled from European competition and a Uefa emergency panel would decide who takes their place. Arsenal could theoretically go out of the competition only to be reinstated the following day, although other clubs would argue they also have the right to play in the elite tournament.
Trabzonspor replaced Fenerbahce when they were withdrawn from the 2011‑12 Champions League by the Turkish football federation, under pressure from Uefa as the match-fixing scandal first erupted. Trabzonspor finished second in the league that season and the Turkish press claimed earlier this summer that the door was open for Bursaspor this year, who finished behind Fenerbahce and Besiktas, another club implicated, in fourth last term. However, following the 2010-11 campaign Fenerbahce qualified automatically as champions and did not play qualifiers, meaning they could be replaced without serious complication.
This year, though, Ersun Yanal's side have already beaten Red Bull Salzburg in qualifying and the Austrian club may also state their case for inclusion if Fenerbahce are expelled.
Ersun insists that the players are not distracted from off-field matters, despite his team, including Dirk Kuyt, Joseph Yobo and Emre, squandering a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 on the opening day of the season last weekend.
"We are in charge on the pitch and our board is in charge on the other stuff," Ersun said. "We need to focus on the pitch. This is an important match and the pressure is on. It will be tough but we have the power, we are a quality team."
The potential consequences will be deemed irrelevant if either Arsenal win or, as some have predicted, the Cas rules in Fenerbahce's favour. The club have always maintained their innocence despite the murky allegations of corruption which centre on the final day of the 2010-11 campaign, when Fenerbahce won 4-3 at Sivasspor to secure the title.
The club's president, Aziz Yildirim, was given a six-year prison sentence after several arrests were made in August 2011. The charges include attempting to influence the outcome of matches and organising an armed group to influence Super Lig games.
Aziz served one year of his sentence and was released following an ongoing appeal. He has denied the allegations throughout.
He said last month: "There have been important developments which I want to share with you. I want to thank everybody who has supported us over the past two-years – Fenerbahce will participate in this years Champions League."
Police claimed in 2011 that they had obtained evidence of cheating and bribery involving 19 first and second division games in Turkey and 93 officials, players and coaches were on trial accused of match-fixing.
Fenerbahce supporters feel they have already been punished once by missing out on the 2011-12 Champions League, while the Turkish Football Federation's own investigation into the scandal has been deemed insufficient by some. The federation controversially amended Article 58 of its constitution which had previously stated that a club would be relegated should any of its officials be found guilty of match fixing.
It is an incredibly complicated case and one that the Cas must preside on during 21 and 22 August.
Fenerbahce have always stated their innocence and believe that the evidence against them is not strong enough. The convictions were initially made in Turkey's special authority courts, which were not highly regarded across Europe and have since been disbanded under pressure from the European Court of Human Rights.Paul Sarahs, a BBC journalist who has interviewed Yildirim and is a Fenerbahce supporter, said: "The charges from the TFF were all dismissed and all of those under investigation were found not guilty. Fenerbahce, Besiktas and all Turkish football fans feel they are not guilty. The feeling is that they have been stitched up by Uefa."
Either way, it is a depressing state of affairs for a proud footballing country. Fenerbahce face an anxious wait until their fate is decided and Uefa will be watching the match with Arsenal with bated breath.