On Wednesday 5th August in GelsenKirchen, Spanish side Getafe face European giants Internazionale. Though in slightly strange circumstances, it will be one of Getafe’s biggest games in their history. Six of the eight last 16 games will play second legs this week, while two fixtures will be played in one-legged affairs due to the postponement of their first legs back in March. Those two fixtures are Sevilla vs AS Roma and Inter v Getafe. They both take place in neutral venues, and those stadiums are the ones that will be used for the rest of the tournament once the last 16 is concluded. Sevilla vs AS Roma will take place in Duisburg in the MSV Arena and Getafe will face Inter in the Arena AufSchalke.
For Getafe it represents an important fixture, as a win would see them equal the furthest they have got in Europe, because it would take them to the quarter finals where they have only been once before back in 2008, when the Europa League was the UEFA Cup. On that occasion, they were agonizingly close to reaching the semi-finals. They were drawing with Bayern Munich after 180 minutes after 1-1 draws in both legs, which sent the second leg to extra time. Getafe scored two goals in the first three minutes of extra time, which seemed to almost guarantee them a place in the semi-final, however Luca Toni scored in the 115th and again in the 120th minute to crush the Spanish sides dreams and send the German giants into the semi-final. What made it even worse for Getafe was they played with 10 men since the 6th minute of the second leg after De La Red was sent off and they had already conceded late on in normal time when Frank Ribery equalised in the 89th minute.
Therefore, a win for Getafe would see them match the furthest they have got in Europe and would give them another opportunity to reach the semi-finals of what is now the Europa League. However, the form Getafe displayed since the comeback of La Liga and towards the end of the season will not necessarily give them confidence. When La Liga went on the enforced break due to the global pandemic, Getafe were 5th, they had 46 points, the same number as Real Sociedad in 4th and 1 point behind Sevilla in 3rd. At the end of the season, they had slipped out of the European places and finished 8th with 54 points. They achieved just 8 points from their remaining 11 games, when the league returned after the break and won just one game. What also makes matters worse, was even after the poor form, a win in their last game away at Levante would have been enough, however they had 3 goals ruled out by VAR and Jaime Mata missed a penalty in the 71st minute. They lost the game 1-0 in the 9th minute of stoppage time. They finished two points behind the last European place, which was occupied by Granada who finished 7th. Therefore, barring Getafe doing something special and winning the Europa League, they will not be playing in Europe next season, which should give them an even bigger incentive to prove their quality against Inter and if possible, in the latter rounds of the competition.
Getafe have a relatively short history, as they were not founded until 1983. They spent most of their early years in the third and second tier of Spanish football but were promoted to La Liga in 2004. They managed to stay in the league until 2016, when they finished 19th, therefore relegated to the Segunda division. However, they won promotion in 2017 after reaching the play offs when they finished third. They managed to beat Huesca in the semi-finals 5-2 on aggregate and they beat Tenerife 3-2 on aggregate in the final. Since they returned to La Liga, they have had three successful seasons as they have finished 8th twice and 5th in the 2018-2019 season.
Therefore, a win against Inter on Wednesday will be one of their biggest in their history and would set up a quarter final tie against Bayer Leverkusen or Rangers.