Metz's Georges Mikautadze applauds the crowd

Mikautadze helps Metz fight the drop

Mikautadze helps Metz fight the drop

Publish on 04/15 at 19:00 - E. DEVIN


With seven goals in his last seven matches Georges Mikautadze has FC Metz back in the mix to avoid the drop

After a stirring comeback win over Racing Club de Lens on Friday, FC Metz are well and truly back in the mix for a place in Ligue 1 next year. While there's still work to be done for Les Grenats, the return of Georges Mikautadze has clearly been key to their revival. After being named the Ligue 2 Player of the Year last season, the Georgian international departed for Ajax, but with seven goals and two assists since returning to Moselle in the January window, he has made all the difference in their quest for survival.

While still 17th, Metz are now level on points with FC Lorient ahead of a crucial trip to face AC Le Havre this weekend. A win in Normandy could catapult László Bölöni's side ahead of their opponents, and their recent upturn in form deserves a closer look. After just four wins in their first 23 Ligue 1 matches, Metz have won three of their last six -- only high-flying Lyon have won more matches in the division since the start of March. Five points off the playoff spot at that point in time, they've rapidly gained ground over their relegation rivals, and only strong form from the likes of Strasbourg, Toulouse and Montpellier has kept them closer to the drop:

Key to this rise has been the team's attack, led by Mikautadze. Indeed, only Lyon have scored more goals in Ligue 1 Uber Eats since the start of March, something that's helped Metz catch up to their rivals:

Mikautadze has been simply indispensable since his homecoming. His seven goals since his return to the team is the same as the rest of his teammates put together. What's more, since Matchday 23, no player in the league has scored more goals:

Again, safety is far from assured for Metz, who still have to face Paris Saint-Germain, in-form Lille and derby rivals Strasbourg before the end of the season, but with the team going through the gears since their talisman's return, they now look ready to battle.

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