Star Turn: Umit Karan
Gala's top scorer last term with 16 goals, he was born in Berlin to Turkish immigrant parents and played for a number of clubs in the German capital before moving to Turkey at the age of 21 to play for the Genclerbirligi club in Ankara in 1997.
While there he was moved from the right-wing to a central striking role and how well the switch paid off. Powerful and opportunistic, he racked up goal upon goal over the next four seasons and earned a move to Galatasaray, where he has continued to shine.
International football has, however, not been such a happy hunting ground for him. Since making his debut for Turkey against Northern Ireland in 1999, he has flitted in and out of the squad.
New Face: Frank De Boer
After being declared surplus to requirements at Barcelona, the veteran Dutch libero was linked with a move to former club Ajax. But nothing came of the speculation and the 33-year-old eventually opted for Galatasaray.
While he has never been the quickest of players, he compensates with his quick-thinking football brain and his comfort on the ball. His left-footed passing remains immaculate and he still strikes a dangerous free-kick.
Capped 105 times for Holland, he has enjoyed much success with Ajax in Europe, notably helping the Amsterdammers win the UEFA Cup in 1992 and the Champions League three years later.
One to Watch: Cihan Haspolatli
Signed from Turkish provincial club Kocaelispor a year ago, the young utility player hit the ground running at his new club, performing ably in a number of different defensive and midfield roles and notching his first Champions League goal against Barcelona in a 3-1 defeat at the Nou Camp last November.
A former mainstay of the Turkish Under 21s, he has made a habit of important goals on big occasions, scoring in Kocaelispor's domestic Cup Final win of 2002 and marking his full international bow by heading in a corner in the August 2002 game with Georgia.
If Galatasaray had not come in for him, he might now be playing in France or Italy. French champions Lyon and Serie A outfit Como were both reported to be interested in him.
The most successful Turkish coach of recent times - he guided Turkey to the final stages of Euro 96 and Galatasaray to victory in the 2000 UEFA Cup Final - Fatih Terim is known for his attack-conscious approach, regular changes to his starting line-up and frequent tactical substitutions.
Terim will probably use a 3-5-2, with new Romanian signing Gabriel Tamas (ex-Dinamo Bucharest), Frank De Boer and Turkish national team skipper Bulent Korkmaz at the back, while the Brazilian Cesar Prates and Hakan Unsal occupy the wing-back berths on the right and left respectively. Ergun Penbe, the Brazilian Batista and the excellent Hasan Sas should complete the midfield quintet, while returning old boy Hakan Sukur and Umit Karan lead the line.
Verdict: Gala are not the force they once were. An early exit seems the most likely.
Star Turn: Pavel Nedved
The swashbuckling Czech attacking midfielder was in a rich vein of form throughout the Champions League last term. His electrifying forward runs and vital goals in the quarter-finals and semis, were instrumental to Juve's success in the competition and it was cruel twist of fate that he missed the Old Traford Final through suspension.
A totally dedicated professional, who regularly works out at the gym at his home and who sticks to a rigorous training regime during the off-season, his trademarks are his relentless running, feisty competitiveness and vicious left-footed shooting.
Before Juve splashed out £25million for him in 2001, he spent five wonderful seasons with Lazio, helping them claim the European Cup-winners Cup (1999) and Serie A title (2000).
New Face: Fabrizio Miccoli
Exciting 24-year-old attacker who was recalled by parent club Juventus this summer following a sensational spell with Perugia.
Juve had no choice but to summon the little 24-year-old, who although owned by the Turin club had not once worn their famous black-and-white striped shirt before this season. Pugnacious, quick and a devastating finisher, he was one of Serie A's most eye-catching performers in 2002-03, deservedly breaking into the full Italian set-up.
Born and raised in the south of Italy, he was good enough to join Milan at the age of 13 but was released soon after because he was homesick. He has come a long way since.
One to Watch: Gianluca Zambrotta
Arguably the most-improved player in Italy over the past year or so, he is tactically and technically outstanding, always wholehearted and, above all, extremely versatile.
For Juve and Italy he has occupied many different positions: right-back, right-wing and a variety of midfield roles. But in the past few months he seems to have found his niche at left-back, proving himserlf to be both a combative defender and a constant danger when overlapping. 'If only I had a Zambrotta in my team,' said Germany boss Rudi Voeller recently.
Started his career with Como and Bari prior to joining Juventus in 2000. Thirty-two caps for Italy.
Coach Marcello Lippi has never been one to miss a tactical trick, having success with 4-4-2, 3-4-1-2 and 4-3-1-2. But this season his base formation will be a 4-2-3-1.
A back-four features full-backs Lilian Thuram of France and Gianluca Zambrotta, plus a central defensive tandem of new signing Nicola Legrottaglie (ex-Chievo) and the Uruguyan hard man Paolo Montero. Lippi will perm two holding midfielders from Igor Tudor, Alessio Tacchinardi and the Ghanaian Stephan Appiah, while a deep-lying trident of Fabrizio Miccoli, Pavel Nedved and Alex Del Piero provide ample support to lone striker David Trezeguet. Defenders Alessandro Birindelli and Ciro Ferrara, midfielder Enzo Maresca and winger Mauro Camoransei will see plenty of action too.
Verdict: Quality and quantity. Could go one step further than last year.
Star Turn: Predrag Djordjevic
Both a confirmed maker and taker of chances, the 31-year-old Serb schemer has been setting high standards in the Greek game for several years now, frequently voted the best foreign player in the country.
In his eighth season with the Piraeus club, Djordjevic has built his reputation on technical brilliance, threat from dead-balls, crossing accuracy and eye for goal. Moreover, he is also extremely versatile, able to play in central midfield or on either flank.
His one regret is that he has been unable to translate his club excellence to the international stage. He had to wait until the age of 26 to win his first senior cap and in 22 appearances for Yugoslavia/Serbia he has never fully convinced.
New Face: Pantelis Kafes
In dispute with the PAOK Salonika board over a substantial amount of unpaid wages, the classy Greek international midfielder was finally released from his contract and promptly signed for Olympiakos, saying that the prospect of Champions League football was key to his decision.
Full of flair and enterprise but needing to improve his strike-rate, the 25-year-old made his debut for Greece in a friendly against Croatia back in April 2001 and to date has 14 full caps.
Interestingly, Kafes is now a teammate of the French midfielder Christian Karembeu, who was sent-off for throwing a punch at him during an Olympiakos - PAOK League game last season.
One to Watch: Spyros Vallas
Bought from the Xanthi club this summer, the 20-year-old central defender is widely considered one of the best young prospects in Greek football and he is expected to feature regularly in the Olympiakos line-up this season.
Has all the assets of a defensive throughbred: aerial ability, total commitment in the tackle and a keen sense of anticipation.
The inspirational captain of Greece's Under 21s, he is expected to graduate to the senior squad in a not-too distant future.
Their Ukrainian coach Oleg Protasov has experimented with a 3-5-1 and 3-5-2 but he feels most comfortable with a 4-4-2, believing that the extra defender gives him a more soild shape. In front of goalkeeper Dimitris Eleftheropoulos, central defenders Spyros Vallas and Paraskevas Antzas form an uncompromising barrier, while the full-backs differ in style; right-back Dimitris Mavrogenidis loves to get forward while left-back Stelios Venetidis is much happier in his own half.
The focus of the attack is the Brazilian Giovanni, whose strike partner will either be new Polish signing Marcin Kuzba or Greek international Lambros Choutos. Of the midfield quartet, Christian Karembeu does the donkey work, while Panelis Kafes, Predrag Djordjevic and the free-scoring Georgios Georgiadis - who recently signed in from PAOK Salonika - all have attacking instincts.
Verdict: No more than six Champions League games in prospect.
Star Turn: Nihat Kahveci
Converted from an attacking midfielder into an out-and-out striker, the diminutive Turkish international took his game to new heights last season, scoring 23 goals and constantly terrorising Liga defences with his superb movement and ball-skills.
Forming a brilliant partnership up front with the tall and powerful Serb striker Darko Kovacevic, Nihat's brilliance last term contrasted markedly with his poor form when he first joined Sociedad from Istanbul club Besiktas for £3million mid-way through the 2001-02 campaign. Indeed, he very nearly returned home after just a few months but was persuaded to perservere in San Sebastian.
Made his international debut in October 2000 against Turkey and now has 22 full caps to his name.
New Face: Bitor Alkiza
All-action, left-footed midfielder who joined Sociedad this summer after nine productive years with Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao.
He will not be tredding on unknown ground at Sociedad. He came through the club's youth ranks in the late 1980s and played professionally for them from 1991 to 1994. What is more, his father was once the Sociedad president.
Busy, with good technique, he won three caps for Spain in the 1998-99 season but subsequently faded from the international scene.
One to Watch: Xabi Alonso
The most promising young midfielder in Spanish football, the 21-year-old's superb distribution and vision were essential ingredients in Sociedad's runners-up spot in La Liga last season.
Capped for the first time last April in a friendly with Ecuador, he now counts Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester Unuited among his many admirers. But any prospective employer will have to dig deep. His buy-out clause is a cool £21.5million.
Football runs in the family. His father, Periko Alonso was a midfield warrior when Sociedad claimed back-to-back Spanish titles (1981 and 1982) and also played for Barcelona and Spain.
French coach Raynald Denoueix demands a high-tempo game based on slick one-touch passing, continuous movement and a forceful pressing game.
Generally lining up in a fluid 4-4-2, Sociedad's strentgth is in the attacking-third. The front-line duo of Nihat and Darko Kovacevic is a potent combination; width and craft is provided by the Russian Valeri Karpin (right) and Javier De Predro (left), while Xabi Alonso organises the play.
Verdict: Last season's surprise package in Spain, the Basques have the ability to achieve similar success in Europe.