Hamrun Spartans will be hosting Georgian champions Dinamo Tbilisi in the first leg of the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa Conference League at the National Stadium on Tuesday, kick-off at 20:00.
The Spartans lost 0-4 to Maccabi Haifa in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round at the Centenary Stadium and then lost 2-1 at the Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa to exit the competition with a 1-6 aggregate score.
Like Hamrun, Dinamo Tbilisi were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League. They held FK Astana of Kazakhstan in a 1-1 draw in the first leg away from home but then lost 1-2 at home to the Kazakhstan champions.
FC Dinamo Tbilisi are based in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. They were one of the most prominent clubs in Soviet football and were one of a handful of teams in the Soviet Top League, along with Dynamo Kyiv and Dynamo Moscow, that were never relegated. Dinamo Tbilisi are by far the most successful football club in Georgia, having won the championship 19 times, the cup 13 times and the Super Cup 9 times. They won the Soviet Top League twice, the Soviet Cup twice and the Commonwealth of Independent States Cup once.
They won the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1981, beating FC Carl Zeiss Jena of East Germany 2–1 in the final in Düsseldorf. It remains the only club based in Georgia to have ever lifted a trophy in European competition.
In season 1981/82, they reached the semi-finals of the Cup Winners Cup and in 2004/05, they made it to the group stage of the UEFA Cup. In 2011/12, 2013/14 and 2016/17, they were eliminated from the play-off round of the UEFA Europa League.
Dinamo Tbilisi are mid-way through the season and after playing nineteen matches, they are currently joint-fourth in the table together with Dila, eight points behind leaders Dinamo Batumi, four behind Saburtalo and three behind Samgurali. However they won the Super Cup earlier this month after defeating on penalties, Dila in the semi-finals and Dinamo Batumi in the final.
On Tuesday, Hamrun will be aiming for a positive result which leaves wide open the chances of qualification ahead of the second leg which will be played in Tbilisi on August 3. A clash with either Ferencvaros or Shamrock Rovers awaits the winner of the Hamrun – Dinamo Tbilisi tie in the third qualifying round.
This will be the first time, Dinamo Tbilisi will be playing in Malta but in two encounters between local clubs and clubs from Georgia, Sliema Wanderers had eliminated Margveti Zestafoni in 1996 and Birkirkara eliminated Lokomotiv Tbilisi in 2001.