September 25, 2016: Recently relegated Getafe succumbed to a debilitating 2-0 defeat at the hands of Girona at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez. Getafe plummeted into the relegation zone and the board responded by dismissing Juan Esnaider.
Jose Bordalas was immediately installed into the managerial hot seat, after leading Alaves into La Liga by finishing at the summit of the Segunda Division. The 56-year-old had managed 10 different clubs prior to his arrival at Getafe in a managerial career spanning 27 years.
Getafe had fallen into a catastrophic state of decline after playing in the UEFA Europa League just five years before. Bordalas made sweeping changes for the goalless draw at CD Tenerife and a run of one defeat in 12 games propelled them into 3rd place.
Veteran forward Jorge Molina joined Getafe from Real Betis on a free transfer in the 2016 summer transfer window and quickly became the catalyst in their pursuit for promotion. Molina scored six goals before the winter break and extended his tally to 20 goals with a further 14 goals after the turn of the year.
The Azulones finished 3rd place in the Segunda Division to qualify for the play-offs, which was a remarkable achievement considering they won just one of their opening seven league games.
A 3-0 win over SD Huesca in the second leg of the semi-final enabled them to progress to the final with a 5-2 aggregate win. Getafe lost 1-0 away to Tenerife in the first leg but completed a remarkable comeback by prevailing 3-1 on home turf in the second leg.
Getafe had restored their top-flight status at the first time of asking and Bordalas has established himself as an exceptional coach over the past three seasons. They marked their return to La Liga with an 8th place finish in 2017/18 and capped an incredible journey by qualifying for the Europa League with a 5th place finish last term.
Bordalas was named UEFA La Liga Coach of the Year for his exploits during the 2018/19 campaign and he’s consolidated his rise by leading them into the Round of 16 in the Europa League.
They will need to overcome Internazionale to equal their quarter-final finish from 2007/08 but they also look set to qualify for Europe for the second successive season for the first time in their history.
Getafe are just six points adrift of the Champions League qualification with four games remaining but the Europa League looks a more realistic target. Valencia midfielder Lee Kang-in struck late against Real Valadolid to keep their faint hopes of European qualification alive but Getafe could leapfrog Villarreal with a win when they meet on Wednesday.
It’s been a wonderful journey for Bordalas and Getafe and another season in Europe will mark a period of sustained success for the club. From the brink of decline to European qualification; Bordalas is without doubt one of the most exciting managers to hail from Spain in the past five years.