FC Dinamo Tbilisi must capitalise on home advantage against FC Levadia Tallinn to earn a tie with Brøndby IF.
By Soso Kotoreishvili and Margus Luik
FC Dinamo Tbilisi coach Kakhaber Tskhadadze hopes his side can capitalise on home advantage as they look to overturn a 1-0 deficit against FC Levadia Tallinn and set up a second qualifying round tie with Michael Laudrup's Brøndby IF.
A penalty from midfielder Konstantin Nahk on the stroke of half-time gave the Estonian team victory last week but Tskhadadze is determined to turn the tables. "Levadia are a strong and tough side," the coach said, "but we have every chance of beating them in the return to qualify for the next round."
The first leg was a disappointment for the Georgian champions, and Tskhadadze has promised to ring the changes for the return. "There will be changes on Tuesday, in defence, midfield and attack. They [Levadia] will have to play another side this time, not the one they defeated in Tallinn."
Dinamo Tbilisi are almost at full strength, with only defensive midfielder Giorgi Nergadze unavailable through injury. They will make three changes to their lineup: recent arrival Revaz Kemoklidze replacing David Gigauri at centre-back, the inventive Georgi Chelidze coming in for George Navalovsky, and Mikheil Bobokhidze lining up alongside Levan Melkadze in attack.
Whatever the personnel, former UEFA Cup Winners' Cup winners Dinamo Tbilisi dominated the closing stages of the first game, and with temperatures likely to soar above 30C at the Boris Paichadze stadium, the odds begin to look more favourable. However, an early Levadia goal would alter matters and visiting coach Tarmo Rüütli will be seeking just that, leaving the hosts to score three times.
Rüütli could be aided by the return of Indrek Zelinski after the experienced Estonia striker recovered from a thigh strain. He is poised to start on the bench, however, with playmaker Vitali Leitan continuing to deputise.
Levadia may well repeat the ploy of playing Andrei Kalimullin and Aleksandr Dmitrijev in tandem on the left flank after the success that duo enjoyed in Tallinn, as the visitors bid to turn one of their club's finest victories into an aggregate one. Dinamo Tbilisi will have something to say about that though.