So often one of the whipping boys in La Liga, nothing much was expected from Getafe during the 2018/19 season.
After an opening 10 games which saw four wins, three draws and three losses, expectations remained at their usual level.
However, coach Jose Bordalas is nothing if not resilient. Hard work always wins out as far as he is concerned.
One of the smaller teams in Madrid wanted to mix it with the big boys, but surely that was just a pipe dream?
Playing a rigid 4-4-2 and ensuring that every player was at his maximum for each game, Bordalas instilled confidence into his squad and they responded.
The real turning point came against Barcelona on matchday 18. Though they lost 2-1 on the night, thanks to some exquisite finishing from Messi and Suarez, Getafe hadn’t disgraced themselves.
Importantly, it was only their fifth La Liga loss of the season, and from potential relegation candidates at the start, Los Azulones found themselves nestling in seventh place and on the fringes of a European spot.
With the defence as solid as a rock – they only conceded 35 times in the entire league campaign – there was genuine cause for optimism.
Jaime Mata’s fine form earned him a call up to the national side, whilst his partner-in-crime, Jorge Molina, also helped contribute to 27 goals and 10 assists between the pair.
Goalkeeper David Soria deserves a mention too, only conceding a further 16 goals after that defeat by Barca.
Getafe didn’t drop below seventh for the rest of the season and were fourth for all but two of the last 13 weeks of the campaign.
They conceded 11 less goals than Real Madrid (and lost three games less) and were it not for a last day draw against Villarreal, we might well have seen the club owned by Angel Torres in the Champions League and not the Europa.
Just two points and three goals separated them from Valencia who finished in the final UCL spot.
Now, on the cusp of a new season, Getafe are out to shock everyone again, and they’ve started with some studious transfer market activity.
Barcelona’s Marc Cucurella enjoyed an outstanding season on-loan at Eibar in 2018/19, and he’ll spend one season at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez before the club make the deal permanent.
Jack Harper is a hard-working youngster signed for just over £1m from Malaga, whilst the fuss over Enric Gallego’s hire is justified.
The 32-year-old centre-forward has been picked up from Huesca for £5.4m, having never played at the highest level of Spanish football before January this year.
For 13 long years, Gallego has supplemented his footballing career at a variety of third division clubs with jobs such as a builder, lorry driver and air conditioning installer.
However, he’s always scored goals and with Bordalas assured to appreciate his work ethic, it’s a move that makes sense for player and club, both professionally and financially.
Thursday night away trips in Europe might eventually take their toll, but Bordalas won’t go looking for excuses.
Expect them to be as difficult to beat at home as they’ve ever been, and don’t even think about writing them off again.