How Jose Bordalas has transformed Getafe: From the Spanish Segunda Division to Europe

Colin Millar by Colin Millar / 09 March 2020, 09:28

"They don't play to entertain the fans. Watching their matches annoy me." Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong did not attempt diplomacy when asked about Getafe. The interview was published less than a day after Los Azulones, from the southern outskirts of Madrid, humbled his former club Ajax in their Europa League tie.

It was the ultimate clash of styles; pitting the ultra-pragmatic, direct and uncompromising Spanish side against the football purists who prioritise style and ideals at the core of their outlook on the sport. 

It was a predictably intense encounter with a palpable edge and tension. Most Getafe matches usually are.

Jose Bordalas’s side will bait their opponents and rile them up. Ajax took a giant bite, with Ryan Babel’s prolonged imitation of Allan Nyom’s playacting going viral on social media. For neutrals it was a humorous episode but it was exactly what Getafe wanted. They had gotten under the skin of their opponents. 

Getafe managed just 34% possession in that match - of which the ball was in play for less than 43 minutes - and they won 2-0. Ajax could not even muster a shot on target. For the fifth time in six games they had won to nil. The other victims? Leganes, Real Betis, Athletic Club, Valencia. None were able to lay a glove on Bordalas’s side.

Indeed, Valencia - just like Ajax - failed to trouble the opposition goal and were thoroughly outplayed. The one outlier was a narrow 2-1 loss at Camp Nou, with Barcelona only just edging them out. 

Going into that match, it was second against third in La Liga. It was also a game where the home side had an operating budget 12 times that of Getafe - an eye into the barbaric financial disparity which still exists in Spain’s top-flight.

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Getafe are 4th in La Liga and through to the Europa League last-16

Bordalas took the reins at Getafe in September 2016. His side were third from bottom. Of the Segunda.

The club appeared to be in big trouble - their decade-long stay in the top-flight had ended just months earlier and Bordalas, who had won the second tier with Alaves, was tasked to take over.

Promotion was attained in his first season, they finished eighth the following year (missing out on Europe by one place, fifth last season (missing out on the Champions League by one place) and this time round are fluctuating between third and fifth.

They are a club who have plenty of peculiarities.

Their president, Angel Torres, is a season ticket holder at Real Madrid.

Their Coliseum stadium is named after Alfonso Pérez, who never played for the club or in the stadium.

They previously launched their 'Getafinder' app so their fans 'met and reproduced' to boost their fanbase. 37-year-old captain and striker Jorge Molina is older than the club itself.

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Bordalas won the Miguel Muñoz Trophy last season

Bordalas has built the side in his image. A fiery, competitive individual who is driven by intense motivation, occasionally bordering on anger, to prove others wrong. 

Prolific forwards Angel Rodriguez and Jaime Mata were plucked from the Segunda, and alongside Molina - the attacking trident share a combined age of over 100. 

They are a team of journeymen, misfits and free agents, who all have something to prove and who are, above everything else, street-wise. 

Getafe completed the job in Amsterdam to progress to the last-16 where they face Inter. 

De Jong’s words and picture were plastered over their dressing room before kick-off. A reminder that it was them against the world. That you must prove the doubters wrong. That there is more than just one way of playing football, more than just one way of winning.

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