Feyenoord begin their Europa League campaign on Thursday with Georgian side Dinamo Tbilisi visiting De Kuip. Kick-off in Rotterdam is 6.30pm BST.

Feyenoord had ambitions to go far in Europe last season but were knocked out at the first hurdle by AS Trencin 5-1 on aggregate.

Now coached by Jaap Stam, Feyenoord will look to return to at least the Europa League group stages but they must get through two qualifying rounds to get there.

First-up is a home clash with Georgian side Dinamo Tbilisi, who came second in their domestic campaign last season. That saw them enter the first qualifying round of the competition and they have already got past Engordany and Gabala to book their tie with Feyenoord.

Stam told the press that he is not taking Tbilisi lightly, “They make a good impression, as a team, but also individually, technically, tactically and physically. You can never properly determine the level that they meet in their competition. But with PSV we once played against Dinamo Batumi in Georgia, when we thought it would be simple, but it turned out to be a difficult job. “

At the weekend, Feyenoord began their league campaign with a disappointing 2-2 draw at home to Sparta Rotterdam, while Dinamo Tbilisi are currently sitting top of the Georgian league after 22 rounds. On Sunday, they defeated Locomotive Tbilisi 6-0.

The winner of this tie progresses to the playoff round to face either Hapoel Beer Sheva or IFK Norrkoping.

Team News

Jaap Stam is without Jeremiah St Juste, who sealed his move away to Mainz 05 on Wednesday, while Nicolai Jorgensen is injured.

Dylan Vente, Sven van Beek, Justin Bijlow and Jens Toornstra are all unavailable leaving Stam with a selection headache. He may decide to use Steven Berghuis through the middle.

Possible Feyenoord line-up: Vermeer, Geertruida, Haps, Van der Heijden, Botteghin, Burger, Fer, Kokcu, Larsson, Narsingh, Berghuis

Dinamo Tbilisi’s squad will not have many names recognised outside of Georgia but they have plenty of players to cause Feyenoord problems. Midfielder Levani Kutalia has scored 11 goals in 21 games this season while striker Levan Shengelia also has 11 goals this season and will be their main threat.

Possible Dinamo Tbilisi line-up: Perales, Kimadze, Mongil, Iashvili, Kobouri, Ninua, Kutalia, Kukhianidze, Papava, Kavtaradze, Shengelia

Odds

Feyenoord 1/4 Draw 9/2 Dinamo Tbilisi 15/2

The bookmakers make Feyenoord the heavy favourites at home for the first-leg.

What to expect from the first-leg

This game couldn’t be coming at a worse time for Feyenoord as their squad is nowhere near ready for such a crucial tie. Stam is without his two main strikers and will have to play Berghuis through the middle.

At the back, Feyenoord looked an absolute shambles against Sparta at the weekend and with St Juste leaving, Stam has very few options.

Dinamo Tbilisi also arrives on an eight-game winning streak and are full of confidence after an excellent start to their league and European campaigns.

Feyenoord are favourites for the tie and should be more than a match for a Georgian side but this is a potential banana skin, just like Trencin was last season.




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