Five things you should know about Dinamo Tbilisi for Spurs Europa League clash

Midfielder Georgi Kinkladze became a fan favourite in his time at Manchester City.
Midfielder Georgi Kinkladze became a fan favourite in his time at Manchester City. Photo: PA

Unlike some of the newer cash rich teams from the former Soviet Union, the Georgian side have a long history and proud tradition of producing quality players like Temuri Ketsbaia and Kakha Kaladze that have gone on to thrive in top European sides. With Tottenham facing a tricky Europa League trip on Thursday, live on ITV4 and itv.com, we take a look at the side AVB hopes will roll over ahead of the return next week.

1) Premier League maestro Georgi Kinkladze learnt his trade there. Anyone who enjoyed midfield mavericks like Scifo and Hagi in the eighties and nineties will also have had a soft spot for ball conjurer Kinkladze. He scored 41 goals in 65 games for Tbilisi before moving to Manchester City for £2m in July 1995, where he made over 100 appearances to become a Maine Road favourite. An unsuccessful switch to Ajax, where he had hoped to strike up a potent reunion with Georgian international team-mate Shota Arveladze, led into a move back to England and Derby County. Kinkladze showed sporadic magic between 1999 and 2003, but his career was on the wane and he hung up his boots eventually in 2007. He has since worked as an agent and sporting director.

2) Cardiff City were the opponents for the opening match of the now 54,549 capacity Dinamo Arena. 1976 was notable mainly for the massive summer heatwave in England, however back in the former Soviet Union it also represented the unveiling of a brand new stadium in Tbilisi. The Welsh side travelled over to help Dinamo celebrate the opening and promptly got spanked 3-0. The Arena soon became a fortress for visiting teams, especially in Europe, while the USSR national team also played several international matches there. The record attendance came in 1979 when 110,000 packed in like sardines to cheer Dinamo on to a 3-0 victory over Liverpool in the European Cup with the stadium refurbished in 2006 to become all-seater, halving the audience.

3) Dinamo's only European trophy came back in 1981. Not many people would have tipped the Soviet side for victory in the 1980-1981 Cup Winners' Cup, nevertheless they eased past Kastoria FC and Ireland's Waterford FC to reach the quarter-finals. West Ham were up next and Dinamo thumped four past the Hammers in the first leg to make the second leg a formality. Feyenoord were up next in the semis and Dinamo produced another powerhouse performance on home soil to win 3-0, but had to fend off a Dutch comeback in the second return leg to sneak through 3-2 on aggregate. FC Carl Zeiss Jena, who defeated Benfica in their semi-final, were their opponents at the Rheinstadion in Dusseldorf for the final with Gerhard Hoppe giving the Germans a second-half lead. Dinamo, though, were made of stern stuff and they hit back through Vladimir Gutsaev and Vitaly Daraselia to cap off their only wildly celebrated European trophy triumph.

4) Manager Dusan Uhrin Jr won the league and Cup double in his first season._ _There are ways to endear yourself to fans at a new club, however winning the domestic double is surely the best. The Czech tactician played for four clubs between 1984 and 1992, but a bad injury forced him to call it quits ahead of a managerial career that has seen him club hop around Europe. The 45-year-old looks to have finally found a home for his talents, 24 wins in 32 games last season with 88 goals scored a cracking return which saw Dinamo win the Georgian Premier League for the first time since 2008. His father Dusan Sr led the Czech Republic to the Euro '96 final, losing 2-1 to Germany.

5) Spaniard Xisco is the star man in an attacking 4-4-2 formation. Former La Liga journeyman Xisco had already tried his luck at Valencia and Real Betis between 2003 and 2009 before he had one last go at Levante. The winger helped them escape relegation on the final day, however was released and upped sticks to Georgia. It proved an inspired decision as he lit up the Umaglesi Liga in his first season before topping the scoring charts last season to fire Dinamo to the title. His cult status in Tbilisi is a lesson to many players who decide to stay as mediocre players in elite European leagues instead of trying their luck at superstardom in the minor Euro leagues. The 32-year-old can count on new signings Romanian Dorin Goga and Patrick Vouho from the Ivory Coast to help put Spurs to the sword alongside the native Georgian players.