The other group matches on Friday pit Latvia against rampant Iceland and the Netherlands against Kazakhstan.
The real test of Terim's third era started off with an unsatisfying performance and a subsequent loss to Iceland. The coach has been left in a disadvantageous position to turn the tables in his team's favor due to the unprecedented injuries and a forced reshuffle. Terim's starting lineup for the Czech Republic match will be a mystery for many.
Schalke 04 defender Kaan Ayhan was the first one to leave the squad because of an injury to his foot and had to postpone his debut appearance with the national team. The 19-year-old chose to play for Turkey, even though he had been capped for both Turkish and German junior teams and could wait for an invitation from Germany. After the news arrived for Ayhan, five other players were reported to be absent in the Czech match due to their injuries, sending shockwaves across the nation.
Top-choice goalie Volkan Demirel will miss out on action in the Czech Republic match and the ensuing Latvia clash. The real shock is in the offensive line. The regular strikers of the team, Burak Yılmaz of Galatasaray and Mustafa Pektemek of Beşiktaş, will be sidelined, whereas the team will also lack the offensive support from Bayern Leverkusen attacking midfielder Hakan Çalhanoğlu, who will be out due to an injury. One of the key defenders of the team, Bayer Leverkusen's Ömer Toprak, will also miss the game.
In the absence of the key players, Galatasaray midfielder Hamit Altıntop has a chance to reclaim his regular spot in the national team as long as he manages to turn the liabilities into assets and show himself. The 31-year-old was last capped for the national team in a friendly against Ghana on Aug. 14, 2013, and he was the captain in that clash. He netted a total of eight goals for Turkey. He will return to the team after 14 months away. Altıntop has not fully returned to his old form following a string of injuries. He was sidelined for most of last season.
Altıntop has been on the pitch for a total of 91 minutes in the three games he played coming off the bench in Galatasaray this season.
Ahead of the Czech Republic match, Fenerbahçe's substitute goalie Mert Günok, Kasımpaşa forward Adem Büyük and Gaziantepspor forward Muhammet Demir were included in the squad.
Terim included two first-time players in the squad: Sivasspor's Ümit Kurt and Akhisar Belediyespor's Güray Vural. Speaking to reporters prior to a training session this week, 23-year-old defender Kurt said he is very happy to be included in the squad and he will do his best to represent his nation. Midfielder Vural said he hopes to be a permanent member of the team and thanked Terim for inviting him. He underlined that the next two games are now more important after the team lost to Iceland.
Turkey will hope for history to repeat itself in this critical phase as it happily remembers a historic Euro 2008 campaign against the Czechs. Under the helm of Terim in his second stint with the national team, Turkey hit two late goals in the last four minutes to get into the quarterfinals of the tournament and kicked their opponents out. The match remains one of the memorable meetings of the two sides. In their last encounter, which was a friendly last February, the Czech Republic defeated Turkey 2-0 in Manisa, a western Turkish city.