June 9, 2020 / 1:04 PM / a month ago

Humble Getafe take on established order in push for Champions League

MADRID (Reuters) - Often the butt of jokes about their lack of history and small fan base, unfashionable Getafe are out to get one over Spanish football’s biggest clubs in the race to qualify for the Champions League when the La Liga season resumes this week.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Getafe v FC Barcelona - Coliseum Alfonso Perez, Getafe, Spain - September 28, 2019 General view inside the stadium before the match REUTERS/Sergio Perez/File Photo

Only five points separated five teams vying for third and fourth place when the campaign was halted in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with Getafe, who have never qualified for Europe’s elite competition, firmly the odd one out.

Sevilla were third on 47 points with 11 matches to go while Real Sociedad were fourth on 46, level with fifth-placed Getafe.

Atletico Madrid are sixth on 45 while seventh-placed Valencia are still in contention on 42.

Atletico and Valencia have both reached Champions League finals on two occasions in the 21st century and not qualifying would signal a disaster for both sides, particularly Atleti who knocked out holders Liverpool in March in the last 16.

Sevilla are no strangers to Europe’s biggest stage either and got to the quarter-finals in 2018 while Real Sociedad reached the group stages in the 2013-14 season.

Getafe, meanwhile, have only existed since 1983 and have long struggled to fill their 17,000-capacity stadium.

In 2011 they poked fun at their low number of followers by making a tongue-in-cheek advert encouraging fans to become sperm donors and “breed” a new generation of supporters.

But the Madrid side have become experts in competing with the top sides, with coach Jose Bordalas a master tactician who revels in winding up the established order.

“It’s beautiful to see us causing problems for clubs who are far bigger and far richer than us,” said Bordalas in February, whose side narrowly missed out on the top-four last season and knocked Ajax Amsterdam of the Europa League this term.

Defender Vitorino Antunes recently added: “This Getafe side deserves to qualify for the Champions League.”

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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