For a club that spent its existence roaming around the lower ranks, Champions League seemed a dream too far for Getafe. El Geta were pretty much satisfied dozing in La Liga fringes. That could change from this season.
Spain’s Primera Division offers surprises every season. The last term, Girona and Alaves punched above their weight finishing in the top half. This term, Getafe are on a surprise mission to the Champions League. Their fans can dare to dream.
Azulones are currently fourth with 50 points after 31 La Liga matches. The Madrid side are 10 and 12 points adrift of neighbours Real and Atletico respectively, meaning finishing in their current position is their highest realistic finish.
They won’t finish fourth easily though. Only seven points separate them from Real Betis in ninth. Sevilla are right behind them, just one adrift. Valencia, Deportivo and Athletic Bilbao are also in the race.
Getafe defeated Bilbao 1-0 on Sunday to strengthen their grip on fourth place with seven matches remaining. Striker Angel Rodriguez came off the bench early in the second half to score the winner on a breakaway in the 78th minute at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez Stadium.
Getafe haven’t finished higher than sixth in the league since 2010. It was 10th or worse since then until an eighth-placed finish last season. Founded in 1983, Getafe have been in the top flight since 2005 with the exception of the 2016-17 season.
But El Geta have been mere spectators for the most part. They’ve never qualified for the Champions League in their history. In fact, the Southern Madrid club have reached Europe just twice- in 2007/08 and 2010/11 respectively.
Worst case scenario, Pepe Bordalas’ side will still play in Europe next season. Europa League qualification is an outstanding achievement for a club that has been used to struggling without a big transfer budget.
Getafe’s squad consists of players considered scraps by many top European sides. Players like 30-year-old Jaime Mata and 36-year-old Jorge Molina were picked up on free transfers after leaving Real Valladolid and Real Betis respectively. Both lead the scoring charts for the club this season with 13 and 10 strikes apiece plus a chunk of assists.