This was the point at which the fairytale was supposed to peter out, with its last few pages left unwritten. Getafe have been one of the stories of this La Liga season, flirting outrageously with the top four despite having begun the campaign underpinned with the fifth-lowest budget in the top flight - which would have been less in other seasons, without relative minnows like Huesca and Rayo Vallecano to prop them up.
On Sunday they hosted Sevilla at their modest Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, tucked just behind their supposed betters, a perpetual presence in European competition who arrived as occupants of fourth place. The Andalucians returned south with their tails between their legs, beaten 3-0 with Getafe leapfrogging them into the final Champions League despite being unable to find a full-back fit enough for the occasion. With five games left to go, they're not just ready to become EuroGeta again. They're standing on the driveway of heaven in an epochal week for the club.

Small budget, big achievements

On Thursday night their near-neighbours Real Madrid travel to the capital's southern outskirts to face them (to briefly return to the budgets, the most storied club in Europe are propelled by €567 million this term, almost 15 times the €39 million that José Bordelás and company are getting by on). Usually, many would turn their nose up at the prospect of calling this a derby, but Getafe have earned this right, particularly in the current context.
That the visitors are heavy favourites is totally justifiable, historically speaking. Los Merengues have won all of the last ten fixtures between the side in La Liga; the last time Getafe took anything from El Real was in a 2-1 win in August 2012. Little wonder, then, that Zinedine Zidane's side are priced at 1.90 to the home team's [4.2].

30-something goal kings

This, however, isn't any old season. In many ways, Getafe have constantly overachieved over the last decade, having spent a sole season outside of the top flight since 2004. However Bordelás and his players, led by 30-something strike duo Jaime Mata and Jorge Molina, are taking it to another level. That they're spending April talking about reaching the Champions League is barely believable, especially when it would mean edging out competitors of Sevilla and Valencia's pedigree.
The biggest compliment one can play to Getafe is that on the pitch, they haven't looked like underdogs but like a composed, mature side with a plan, who look like they belong on the conversation. That's exactly why they must be taken seriously for Thursday's fixture, despite El Real's 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, with Karim Benzema continuing his hot streak (his hat-trick took him to eight goals in his last five games).

Zidane planning for the future

Zidane is in the highly unusual position - by his club's standards - of having a fairly meaningless run-in, with Champions League qualification all but mathematically guaranteed and time to audition who should get a place in next season's rebuild. It looks less and less as if Gareth Bale, linked with the Madrid press with a loan move out in summer, will be part of it but other big names are also jockeying for position in the new era. The Wales forward being involved here would actually make sense against a depleted home backline.

For once, though, this fixture is all about Getafe, facing down their dates with destiny with real sang froid. If they can see off their famous neighbours this week, it really will be time to take notice of them.

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