Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Nations League clash between Georgia and Bulgaria, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
Georgia head in sunday UEFA Nations League attachment with Bulgaria knowing that victory could be enough to seal promotion to the second division.
At a time when the home side are five points clear at the top of Group C4, Bulgaria are seven points adrift and enduring one of the most devastating results in their history.
After losing five straight games between June and October last year, Georgia seemed likely to spend even more time in the international doldrums Willy Sagnol.
However, the Frenchman has spearheaded one of the most unexpected resurgences on this stage in recent years as Georgia have now recorded seven wins and one draw in their last eight games.
Although the 2-0 win over Sweden late last year remains the standout result, the Crusaders have gone goals crazy in the competition, scoring 12 goals in three games.
The latest wave of strikes came in North Macedonia on Thursday, all three goals were scored after the break as they took control of Group C4.
Khvicha Kvarachelia contributed his third game of the season in that game, but Sagnol will take more pleasure in how goals were shared in a unified squad.
At a time when Georgia is on the brink of promotion, Bulgaria are in turmoil, with a change of head coach followed by embarrassment in Gibraltar.
While one of international football’s minnows keeps improving, the 1-1 draw is their most notable result since winning in Armenia in 2018.
Georgy Ivanovthe caretaker manager, will be grateful for an immediate opportunity for his side to redeem themselves, anything short of a win will see them out of contention for promotion.
Realistically, they shouldn’t even think about that after Bulgaria have not won in seven games and have not won away from home since 2018.
Georgia Nations League Form:
Georgian form (all competitions):
Form of the Bulgarian Nations League:
Form Bulgaria (all competitions):
While Sagnol’s quick turnaround may encourage changes, the decision could be a priority for the majority of players who have appeared in North Macedonia.
Otar Kiteishvili can possibly be recalled in midfield after the net as a substitute during this competition, but the experienced Valeri Qazaishvili could remain among the substitutes.
Ivanov is expected to make further changes to his Bulgaria squad. Kiril Despodov in line to earn an immediate recall on the flank.
Georgi Milanov and Georgi Kostadinov Both are options to get back into midfield, with Philip Krastev likely to leave the team.
Gibraltar’s equalizer from the penalty spot could give the four-man defense another chance to impress.
Georgia possible starting line-up:
Mamardashvili; Kvirkvelia, Kashia, Khocholava; Kakabadze, Aburjania, Kvekveskiri, Tsitaishvili; Kvarachelia, Davitashvili; Tsivtsivadze
Bulgaria possible starting line-up:
Wuzow; Popov, Hristov, Chorbadzhiyski, Jordanov; Milanov, Kraev; Milanov, Stefanov, Despodov; Minchev
We say: Georgia – Bulgaria 2:1
After such a disappointing result earlier this week, expect a reaction from Bulgaria. That doesn’t mean it will be enough, however, and our full support goes to Georgia, who are starting to look like they could be a force when it comes to Euro 2024 qualifying.
For a data analysis of the most likely outcomes, goal scores and more for this game, please click here.
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com predict under 3.5 goals in this game. Click here to find out what else they predict for this game and for more of their football best tips.Under 3.5:Data