surinenglish

A LOOK AT LA LIGA

A nightmare to play for... and against

Coach Bordalás has been compared to Simeone.
Coach Bordalás has been compared to Simeone. / EFE
  • Getafe are proud of their unpopularity and, not for the first time, are making waves across Europe

If you were to liken Getafe to an English club, you'd have to go for Millwall whose fans proudly chant: "No one likes us, and we don't care."

Like Millwall they are based in an unfashionable part of the country's capital, they bask in their unpopularity and turn their noses up at the more fashionable clubs in town.

For many years they've trodden a similar path in the second tier to the Lions of London but now the Azulones are making waves in La Liga and beyond.

Only Real Madrid and Barcelona sit ahead of them in the domestic table and next month Ajax face the self-styled runts of Spanish football in the knockout stages of the Europa League.

You couldn't get a starker contrast to the elite Dutch club who are renowned for the development of players at their highly technical academy. At Getafe's training ground the emphasis is on running and running some more.

The Getafe fitness coach revealed recently that players cover up to 40 kilometres in training every week and walking is banned at all times on the practice pitches.

It actually sounds quite unpleasant to play for them; it's even more unpleasant to play against them. Referees have shown more yellow cards to Getafe players than any other team and they're not ashamed to play 'disruptive' football.

At the San Mamés they had only 39 per cent of the possession but won two-nil to go third. It sums up their approach - make the most of what you've got available. Striker Ángel has only started six games this season but when he gets on the pitch he usually scores. He averages a goal every 101 minutes which is better than Lionel Messi. It's incredible that the 32-year-old journeyman has been spoken of as an emergency signing at Barcelona as Ousmane Dembélé appears to be out for the season.

It's not just the striker who is in vogue. José Bordalás is now being compared to Diego Simeone as a coach. The Argentinian has made a managerial career by upsetting the odds.

Bordalás has built a team on the 12th-biggest budget in the top flight and there are many in the Segunda who have more euros to play with. Last season they finished a creditable fifth.

Their venture into Europe isn't a first. Back in 2010 they had an adventure in the Europa League but it ended early in the group stages as they prioritised fighting relegation.

They've already hit 39 points so the priority of avoiding relegation has been met and they can have some fun against the Eredivisie team who reached the Champions League semi-finals last season.

It may not be a pretty fixture to watch but it will be intriguing to see how the clashes of culture pan out.

It's still feasible that Getafe can qualify for the elite European completion. They dare to dream but their dream promises to be someone else's nightmare.