The Rise of Gutsy Getafe

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 27: Jaime Mata of Getafe celebrates 0-1 with teammates Mauro Arambarri of Getafe, Nemanja Maksimovic of Getafe during the UEFA Europa League match between Ajax v Getafe at the Johan Cruijff Arena on February 27, 2020 in Amsterdam Netherlands (Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images)

The edgy, less illustrious neighbours of the Madrid giants continue on a roll after an impressive last season. It must be stressed: the evolution of Getafe has been no fluke.

The Rise of Getafe

Out of the Shadows

For a team in the shadows of their grander neighbours, Getafe have put themselves firmly in the spotlight thanks to their recent outstanding achievements; ones that have come to fruition thanks, in large, to one man: their talented coach.

Getafe are lead by their studious and meticulous manager José Bordalás, who has worked wonders since his arrival. Los Azulones, as they are known, were in the relegation zone of the Segunda División when he took charge. Yet, he masterfully navigated Getafe to promotion that very same season – overcoming Huesca and Tenerife in the play-offs. Since then, he has successfully stabilized the club by moulding together a team of players with a point to prove or clever signings from left field.

A Resurgent Club

The Madrid-based team’s return to La Liga ended with an impressive eighth-place finish followed by last season’s magnificent fifth-place berth. The club were challenging all the way for an unlikely, yet what would have been deserving, Champions League qualification. Not bad for a team with the fifth-lowest budget in La Liga, sustainability being the key to their success.

Overachieving certainly springs to mind. However, thanks to a solid organization, high work-ethic and sheer guts, Bordalás’ team has a notable 45% win rate from his 160 games in charge. This is backed up with a healthy points-per-match ratio of 1.63. The manager has a keen eye for the team that he wants, whilst being able to work to a small budget.

No Substitute for Hard Work

Precisely at Getafe, he and his club have successfully worked within their means. They have acquired talented individuals to fit into the spirited work ethos and togetherness of the club. The ‘all hands on deck’ approach from his players has contributed to huge reward.

Attacking Prowess

Players such as Jorge Molina have been mighty impressive and invaluable. After leaving Real Betis, he was the forward fulcrum of Getafe’s promotion season with 20 goals. He continued that form with eight goals two seasons ago, then plundered 14 goals last season. Remarkably, in spite of being at the club for just three seasons, he is their record goalscorer with 45 goals. This season, the spritely 37-year-old has still chipped in with five goals in 23 appearances.

His strike partner, Jaime Mata, has been just as impressive. He found the back of the net 16 times last season – a total which earned the forward a Spanish call-up. He made his debut for La Roja in their win against Norway in La Mestalla. This season he has scored in eight goals in 23 games in La Liga and three goals in six Europa Liga encounters.

Defensive Rocks

The unmistakable Spanish defender Marc Cucurella, on loan from Barcelona, has made his mark with some impressive displays at left-back. He plays as both an accomplished defender and attacker adding a new dynamic threat to Getafe. He has five assists and one goal in 25 La Liga games. Getafe have exercised the option of a permanent deal for the player worth €6 million euros and represents an astute and clever signing given that he has been an integral player not only this season, but also last season in Eibar’s successful La Liga campaign. But many clubs are keeping a watching brief over this highly sought-after player.

Another impressive performer has been their Togolese defensive centre back Djené Dakonam. The defender has proven to be a shrewd buy since his move from Belgium side Sint-Truidense. Djené has had many outstanding performances and is proving to be a rock-solid and effective defender.

European Fairytale

Their players have worked immensely hard throughout this somewhat golden period for their success. The town from the south suburb of Madrid deservingly welcomed European football once again this campaign. Naturally, there was much excitement on their return to the Europa League.

Their supporters cherish this competition with fond memories of their most successful European jaunt. That was when they got to the quarter-finals stage in the 2007/08 season. It was a highly entertaining tie, which they narrowly lost on away goals 4-4 to the might of Bayern Munich. The first leg yielded an impressive 1-1 draw in the Allianz Arena followed by a thrilling return match at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, which ended 3-3 after extra time.

This season’s run in the competition has been just as remarkable – safety navigating through Group C made up of eventual group winners Basel, Getafe, Krasnodar and Trabzonspor. But the best was yet to come with a magnificent win over Ajax in the Round of 32. Getafe won the first leg at home 2-0 before going through 3-2 on aggregate after a slender 2-1 defeat in the Johan Cruyff Arena. It was a tremendous triumph where Getafe out ‘Ajaxed’ Ajax at their own possession game. No mountain too tall to scale for this humble club.

Their reward would be another titanic clash in the Round of 16 against another European powerhouse in Inter Milan. A juicy tie that one will hope will be fulfilled in the near future as football takes a pause due to the worldwide pandemic of the coronavirus.

Consistency the Key

The Madrid side have coped admirably with their latest European adventure, safe in the knowledge they could attack it with complete freedom and revelry. The added challenge of European football allied to La Liga has been a juggling act. Yet, the club and their manager have demonstrated that the consistency shown through their hard work and resolve, which has brought them this far, are in fact sustainable and is yielding further success.

Flying High Again in La Liga

Impressive league displays against Barcelona and Valencia and another consistent season mean Getafe currently sit in fifth place, firmly in and around those lucrative Champions League places with 46 points. They continue to belie critics and amaze the footballing world.

The club’s successful track record under the tenure of Bordalás proves that this is a team not built on quicksand. It is quite the opposite: the club maintain a strong foundation by laying down the necessary groundwork to ensure long term success.

Focus on the Future

Getafe have been in the news recently, with their President Angel Torres confirming that all 13,500 season members of the club will be given free season tickets for the 2020/2021 season. This membership will include all 19 La Liga games with the Copa Del Rey and potential European matches separate. But with money being tight, it still represents a nice touch on behalf of the owner.

With their forward momentum, the signs are there that Los Azulones have every opportunity to continue their progressive evolution. Most of all, continue to show all the hallmarks of a gutsy Getafe. Their rise and rise continues apace.


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