Astana won the Kazakhstan Premier League last season and are on course to defend their crown, while Dinamo Tbilisi are the reigning Georgian champions.
Astana head into the first leg on the back of a 2-0 defeat to Ordabasy in the Kazakh Cup semi-finals, with Abzal Beysebekov seeing red in the second half of extra time as his side dropped out of the tournament.
It is worth noting, however, that Thursday’s loss ended a 15-game unbeaten run across all competitions for the Yellow-and-Blues, who picked up 12 wins and three draws before falling to Ordabasy.
Better yet, Astana have lost just two of their 16 league outings this season, notching 12 victories and two draws along the way, while Grigori Babayan’s men have won each of their previous three league encounters.
Astana’s first and only appearance in the Champions League proper came back in 2015-16, although they failed to win any of their six matches that season, finishing below Atletico Madrid, Benfica and Galatasaray in their group.
That said, the Yellow-and-Blues claimed a famous victory over Manchester United in the 2019-20 edition of the Europa League, defeating the Premier League giants 2-1 on home soil.
Dinamo Tbilisi, on the other hand, enter Wednesday’s clash having won the Georgian Super Cup last Tuesday, with Gabriel Sigua equalising in the 77th minute before scoring the winning penalty in the shootout.
Thanks to that triumph, Dinamo have avoided defeat in each of their previous three matches across all competitions, although it is worth pointing out that Giorgi Tchiabrishvili’s men required another penalty shootout to overcome Dila Gori in the semi-finals of the Georgian Super Cup.
Occupying fourth place in the Erovnuli Liga table with a record of 10 wins, four draws and five losses, Tbilisi have struggled for consistency in the league this season
That said, the Georgian champions are the top scorers in their domestic division, having netted 44 goals in 19 games, so Tchiabrishvili’s men will fancy their chances of outscoring Astana over two legs.
Astana form (all competitions):
Dinamo Tbilisi form (all competitions):
We say: Astana 1-1 Dinamo Tbilisi
With the second leg scheduled for next week, both sides will likely approach the first leg with caution, so we expect Astana and Dinamo Tbilisi to play out a cagey draw on Wednesday.