Feyenoord travel to Georgia on Thursday evening know full well that they’re practically through to the final Europa League play-off round, having won last week’s first leg 4-0. That game offered a brief respite for Feyenoord boss Jaap Stam – his team have not got off to a good start in the Eredivisie, following a series of concerning results in pre-season.
Stam will be keen to improve on domestic results and try to use a good performance and result here as a springboard to turn things around. He won’t have put too much stock pre-season friendlies, which included 3-1 defeats to RB Salzburg and Southampton and a 3-0 defeat to Panathinaikos, but they’ve since not started the league campaign particularly well either, with two points from four games. The opening game required a last-minute equaliser to get a point at home to Sparta Rotterdam, while they could only manage a 1-1 draw with Heerenveen at the weekend. Meanwhile Dinamo Tbilisi are well into the swing of things in the 2019 Georgian season, and look likely to improve on their distant second finish last season. They’re top of the table, picking up an impressive 44 points from 22 games.
The aggregate score of Dinamo’s last six games before the first-leg mauling they suffered was 18-0. They’ll be hoping that good form will do them well at home, but any chance of overturning the four-goal deficit is surely beyond them. Midfielder Levan Shengelia and striker Levani Kutalia are two key players that will feature once again as Tbilisi look to regain some pride; they’ve scored 21 goals between them so far this season. Akiki Shulaia will be suspended after his sending off last time out.
Feyenoord huffed and puffed last week and weren’t especially dazzling, but all but made this a formality by scoring three goals in the final ten minutes after Shulaia’s late dismissal for the opposition. Former Swansea man Luciano Narsingh came off the bench to add the fourth and could come into the starting line-up here. Feyenoord find goals somewhat difficult to come by of late and could persist with Sam Larsson up top, but the early signals suggest they’ll struggle to replace the goals of the recently retired Robin Van Persie.
The 4-0 scoreline last week paints a somewhat unrepresentative picture last week, with the game only breaking once Dinamo had been reduced to ten men. The hosts in far better form than Feyenoord and will fancy their chances of saving some face with a win or draw on home soil – you can back either with double chance at 1.90, or for a real long-shot to win and keep a clean sheet (which they’d done in their five games prior to last week) at a massive 8.50. Last week’s match was also quite a tight and tetchy encounter until the final ten minutes – under 2.5 goals can be backed at 2.15