For a football team coming from a city with just 180,000 inhabitants, Getafe’s continued overachievement really is extraordinary.
But you sense this is a club that revels in its underdog tag. Standing in the shadows of Madrid, the Azulones spent just £19 million on new players in the summer – for context, Real Madrid spent £303 million and Atletico a still very handsome £219 million.
And yet Getafe once again finds themselves on the brink of the Champions League places in the Spanish La Liga. In 2018/19 they finished just two points shy of the top four, and this season they are tied on points with Real Sociedad in fourth and just a solitary point behind Sevilla in third.
With a transfer budget akin to a small change to elite-level clubs, Getafe stands on the brink of eating at football’s top table. Once again outperforming their pre-season outright Spanish La Liga betting odds, they could qualify for the continent’s premier competition for the very first time in their existence in the coming months.
So how have Getafe been able to achieve such heights despite their relatively meager resources?
Devil in the Detail:
When a club overachieves as spectacularly as Getafe have, the first port of call when looking for the root cause is the acumen of their manager. It would be fair to suggest that José Bordalás had a less-than-stellar playing career, with a short stint at Hércules as good as it got for this functional but unspectacular striker.
His managerial career started in the depths of Spanish football with Alicante B and has passed through such salubrious climes as Benidorm and Eldense. After continued success at Alcorcón and Alavés, Bordalás was handed the reigns at Getafe in time for the 2016/17 campaign. And success quickly followed – promotion to La Liga in his first season in the dugout was followed by an eighth-place finish in the top-flight in the next.
Looking for a Cam to trial tonight!!
HT Spain and play 3-5-2
— VFL Getafe (@VFLGetafe) March 28, 2020
Continuing to impress his ideas on his players, Getafe has continued to improve under their 56-year-old head coach and their fifth-place in 2018/19 remains the club’s best-ever finish. Notwithstanding this season’s efforts, of course…
One of the surprising things about the forward-motion they have enjoyed under Bordalás is their tactical approach, which at first glance looks rather old-fashioned. Their 4-4-2 set-up is on the rigid side and is unapologetically defensive – it’s no coincidence they have the fourth-smallest goals conceded column in La Liga.
But the devil is in the detail, and this isn’t an outfit that sits deep. Their vaunted high energy press forces opposition to lump the ball long out of sheer desperation at times, with Getafe’s tigerish tackling also leading them to 93 yellow cards this term – a La Liga high.
When they have turned over possession, that is when they spring forward at a pace –particularly in wide areas, where the likes of Marc Cucurella and Jason have been so impressive. In attack, Jorge Molina, Jaime Mata, and Angel Rodríguez, with a combined age of 104, have belied their advancing years with a combined 23 goals.
It’s simple but very effective, and there is no doubting the Azulones’ credentials as one of the most effective sides in the Spanish top-flight.
A deep run into the Europa League has become something of a distraction for a team whose strengths are based on being fresh and energized, but if they can return from the enforced break with renewed vigor Getafe could once again break through Spanish football’s glass ceiling.