Dinamo Batumi vs Jagiellonia by Sweem
Dinamo Batumi will have to travel from their fancy coast city to Kutaisi - a city located more centrally into the country of Georgia, to play on Ramaz Shengelia Stadium. It is a 150 kilometer journey, and due to many poor stadiums in Georgia, teams have to play on the bigger venues like this or in Tbilisi.
Dinamo Batumi was a club on the rise in recent years, which even led them to their first European victory last season, when they defeated Omonia Nicosia with 1-0, but lost the away leg with 2-0. It was under coach Shota Cheishvili where their success began. The now 68-year old coach is not with the club anymore, and instead Ukrainian Konstantyn Frolov is in charge. Batumi has undergone a significant change since last season - many players left the team, and new ones were brought in, while some younger players also joined, however they have struggled to maintain the quality in the team. They are currently struggling domestically, having 1 victory in the last 9 matches, and almost rank bottom of the table (8th of 10 teams).
Squad wise, Batumi have one dangerou main man, called Yaroslav Kvasov, who joined from Zorya in Ukraine. The 25-year old striker has scored 6 goals in 18 appearances in the Georgian league. The defensive line consist of main 37 year old veteran center back, Davit Kvirkvelia with experience from Anzhi and Rubin Kazan back in his professional career. The strongest position of the team is still the midfield, with captain Temuri Shonia being the glue, along with younger technical players like Mikheil Gorelishvili and Vako Tevdoradze who can create one-on-one situations and benefit from their skill. Other than the mentioned players, the rest are local players who are going through a difficult season, and Batumi are by far the biggest disappointment in Georgian football in 2017.
The polish side, Jagiellonia finished second in the Polish league, only two points after Legia. In other words, it is an in-form team who are arriving to Kutaisi to take on a struggling bottom team from Georgia. In fact, Batumi have not scored domestically for four straight matches.
Jagiellonia will however miss striker Karol Swiderski (26/2) and winger Przemyslaw Frankowski (35/8) due to fatigue from playing in the U21 championship. Striker Lukas Sekulski is back from loan and is included for the Europa League qualifiers to add some extra attacking options in the squad.
It is important to note that Jagiellonia had a fantastic season, but they had a good coach in Michal Probierz, who now left the club for Cracovia Krakow. Now, Ireneusz Mamrot is the newly appointed coach for Jagiellonia, who came from a smaller club. It remains to see what type of impact he will make, and it is tough to judge after only two friendly matches. So far however, the Polish side have stayed in shape and possess a solid attacking force led by Irish striker Cillian Sheridan, who alone is worth more than the starting lineup of Dinamo Batumi (to put things in perspective) if we only look at market value.
The only factor of benefit for Batumi is that the Georgian league is already underway, while for Jagiellonia - they have just finished the Polish league, but remained active thanks to friendly matches. Jagiellonia just finished their season but have a much more professional club, squad and spiced up with foreigners. Dinamo Batumi are more local, and will struggle to keep up with Jagiellonia over two legs. This is a neutral venue, and there will not be more than a thousand spectators (Batumi's own fanbase is around 400) and considering this match is played far away, there is no home advantage. My assumption is that quality prevails, which is why I back Jagiellonia to a straight win.