Germany may be in for shock against Georgia’s “new Kinkladze”
On Wednesday evening in Kaiserslautern something nigh-on unthinkable happened – Germany were held to a 2-2 draw with Australia.
Fielding a team of young and inexperienced internationals, the Socceroos were nevertheless able to go toe-to-toe with Die Mannschaft.
Scoring twice and at one point taking the lead in the match, the team from Down Under gave Joachim Loew’s side an almighty scare in an encounter that is sure to have alarm bells ringing for the World Cup holders.
That’s because, since lifting that famous trophy back in July of last year, Germany have endured a rotten run of form that has seen Die Mannschaft win just three of the seven fixtures they have played since then.
Both Argentina and Poland have put Loew’s team to the sword, with both winning by two-goal margins, while the Republic of Ireland and now Australia have stolen draws.
Even the victories – a 2-1 triumph over Scotland, a 4-0 win over minnows Gibraltar in qualifying and a 1-0 friendly conquest of Spain – have provided little to shout about.
All of which makes a trip to Georgia and the less-than-hospitable atmosphere of the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena in Tbilisi a wholly unappealing prospect.
But one man who could be relishing the contest is Georgia international upstart Valeri Kazaishvili.
A regular for Eredivisie outfit Vitesse Arnhem over the past two seasons, the 22-year-old attacking midfielder’s penchant for dribbling and shooting from distance has seen him earn comparisons with a much-loved national team legend.
Before the Abu Dhabi United Group arrived with their billions in 2008, City had had little to cheer about from their recent history.
The mid-1990s was a particularly difficult time, with the Sky Blues struggling under than-manager Alan Ball in 1996 as part of a season that would ultimately see them relegated.
One man who did provide a ray of light in the gloom that surrounded Maine Road at the time, however, was Georgi Kinkladze.
Signed from Dinamo Tbilisi for a nominal fee that season the Georgian soon set about earning something approaching cult status with City fans for a series of virtuoso solo goals.
His chipped finish against Southampton remains one of the finest in the history of the Premier League, winning the Match of the Day “Goal of the Month” award and coming second in the “Goal of the Season” competition.
Nearly 20 years on from that campaign and a successor to the Sky Blues maestro may have emerged in Kazaishvili.
While Germany were busy toiling with Australia on Wednesday, he was busy inspiring Georgia to a 2-0 victory over Malta.
Among the goals in that victory, the 22-year-old is in the midst of his most prolific season to date in Holland, having netted six goals in the Eredivisie from the midfield already this term.
Now due to face Germany with the game broadcast on ITV4 this Sunday, City fans are advised to tune in and see whether he really is the next Kinkladze.
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