Created on 14-03-2008 at 00:00 AM
Bayern’s UEFA Cup quarter-final opponents Getafe CF, a relatively unknown quantity outside their native Spain, are best described as young, ambitious and dangerous. In a two-year stint at the helm from 2005-7, current Real Madrid boss Bernd Schuster began the process which has seen the side from the Spanish capital’s southern suburbs evolve into an emerging force on the domestic and continental stage.
Not yet 25 years old, the club has made rapid progress in recent years. Originating as a Real Madrid fan club, the organisation began playing as Getafe CF in 1983, achieving promotion to the third division in 1987 and reaching the giddy heights of the elite Spanish Primera Division in 2004.
Giant-killers in blue
Getafe rapidly earned a reputation as giant-killers, and the Azulones or Blues have been busy underlining their lack of respect for the big guns again this term, beating Barcelona 2-0 before Christmas and downing Champions League side Sevilla 3-2 in February, before the crowning glory of a 1-0 triumph away to runaway leaders Real in late February.
Catalan giants Barca were also the victims the previous season when Getafe pulled off the biggest coup in their history. The men from the south of Madrid lost the Spanish Cup semi-final first leg 5-2, but confounded the experts with a 4-0 win in the return to seal an unlikely debut appearance in the Copa del Rey final. Schuster’s men lost to Sevilla by the only goal of the game, but earned a place in the UEFA Cup by virtue of the winners having already qualified for the Champions League.
First meeting with Bayern
Under new boss Michael Laudrup, brother of former Bayern star Brian, Getafe are well set for a repeat appearance in the Spanish Cup final after a 3-1 semi-final first leg victory over Racing Santander. Laudrup’s team occupy their by now customary mid-table berth in the Primera Division, a comfortable tenth place.
The Azulones clearly enjoy cup competitions, as their debut UEFA Cup campaign saw them finish ahead of Tottenham and Anderlecht in the group stage, before knockout stage wins over AEK Athens (1-1 away, 3-0 at home) and Benfica (2-1 away, 1-0 at home). The quarter-final tie is their first meeting with Bayern.
Stemming the Blue tide
Former Denmark legend Laudrup is certainly the best-known figure at the club, although Argentine keeper Roberto Abbondanzieri, named best goalkeeper in Spain last year, is well-enough known across Europe.
Getafe’s home ground is the modern Estadio Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, constructed in 1998. Despite a modest 17,000 capacity, the boisterous home fans have earned themselves the nickname La Marea Azul, the blue tide. Bayern will set about coping with the deluge when they take to the field for the second leg on 10 April.