Gutsy Getafe gambling to glory

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

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

Getafe are led 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 in September 2016, yet he masterfully navigated Getafe to promotion that very same season – overcoming Huesca and Tenerife in the playoffs. Since then, he has successfully stabilised the club by molding together a team of players with a point to prove or clever signings from left field.

The Madrid based team’s return to La Liga ended with an impressive 8th-placed finish followed by last season’s magnificent 5th-placed outcome – the club were challenging all the way for an unlikely, yet would have been deserving, Champions League classification. Not bad for a team with the fifth lowest budget in La Liga. Sustainability being the key.

Overachieving certainly springs to mind, however, thanks to solid organisation, high work-ethic and sheer guts, Bordalás’ team has a notable 45% win rate from his 160 matches in charge, and the manager has a keen eye for the team that he wants, whilst being able to work with a small budget.

At Getafe, Bordalás and his club have successfully worked within their means and 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. 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, and has continued that form with eight goals in the 2017/18 campaign, then plundered 14 goals last season – making him, in spite of being at the club for just three seasons, their record goal scorer 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, scoring 14 goals last season, which earned him a Spanish call up – making his debut for La Roja in their win against Norway in Valencia. This season he has scored in eight goals in 23 Liga games with three goals in six Europa Liga encounters.

The unmistakable Spanish defender Marc Cucurella, on loan from Barcelona, has made his mark with some impressive displays at left back 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 the option of a permanent deal for the player worth €6m. It would represent an astute and clever signing given that he was an integral player in Eibar’s successful last season in La Liga, while he has recently been linked to a host of top England Premier League clubs.

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

Their players have worked immensely hard for their success and the town from the southern suburb of Madrid deservingly welcomed European football once again this campaign. Naturally, there has been much excitement on their return to the Europa League. Their supporters cherish this competition with fond memories of their most successful European jaunt – getting to the quarter-finals in 2007/08, narrowly losing on away goals 4-4 to Bayern Munich. The first leg yielded an impressive 1-1 draw in Germany followed by a thrilling return match which ended 3-3 after extra time. During this break from football, many fans will reminiscence over the classic encounters and spend time checking out Australian casinos 2020.

Prior to sport grinding to a halt, Getafe’s run in this Europa League has been just as remarkable – safety navigating through a group made up of Basel, Krasnodar and Trabzonspor. But the best was yet to come with a magnificent memorable win over Ajax in the Round of 32. Getafe won the first leg at home 2-0 before going through 2-3 on aggregate after a narrow 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 Inter – a juicy tie that one will hope will be fulfilled in the near future.

Getafe have coped admirably with their latest European adventure with the knowledge they could attack it with complete freedom and revelry. Although the added challenge of European football allied to La Liga has been a juggling act, the club and its 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.

Impressive league displays against Barcelona and Valencia and another consistent season mean Getafe sit currently in 5th and firmly in and around those lucrative Champions League places with 46 points as 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 – quite the opposite: the club maintains a strong foundation through laying down the necessary groundwork to ensure long term success.

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