La Liga Review looks ahead to Getafe's UEFA Cup quarter final clash against Bayern Munich on Thursday as the Madrid club pursue their debut European dream...
This is Getafe's first ever UEFA cup campaign and Laudrup's side have already upset the form book in reaching this stage of the competition after having already seen off the likes of Tottenham, Anderlecht and Benfica en route to the last eight.
Historical statistics often stand for very little, but Getafe's 10 UEFA Cup appearances contrasts unfavourably with Bayern's 327 and illustrates the differing pedigrees between the two sides. However, Getafe's performances so far in the tournament have given Michael Laudrup plenty of cause for optimism as he prepares to take on the competition's favourites. Speaking at the pre-match press conference last night, Laudrup said: "Nobody is doubting Bayern's quality. We recognise and respect that quality, but we are going to do everything possible to counter it."
The Dane continued: "Our chances aren't even 50-50. Bayern are favourites and I am not just being humble when I say that. But they are not quite as big favourites as some people make out."
Getafe go in to tonight's match on the back of a recent poor run of domestic form: they lost 2-0 at CA Osasuna on Sunday, their third defeat in a row.
However, the Getafe keeper 'Pato' Abbondanzieri is relishing the chance to play against the German giants and refuses to be intimidated by their reputation. The goalie said: "It's a day to enjoy. I like to play against teams like Bayern Munich and it's great to think that they are going to be coming to our stadium."
The Argentine continued :"What do we know of them? Well of course, they have internationals of the highest level, but this is the case with all the great teams. We also have them in our league and we don't give it that much thought."
It seems that Getafe will be looking to grab a vital away goal in Munich this evening, as a confident Getafe captain, David Belenguer, pointed out: "Our first objective is to score and the second is to win the match. We have been to other great European stadiums and we have obtained victories. So, as Bayern will now discover, they have not been so lucky in the draw."
In spite of the tough talking, it does appear to be a formidable tack for the Madrid minnows. Bayern are seven points clear at the top of he Bundesliga, despite a 1-1 weekend draw at 1. FC Nürnberg, and they have also qualified for the German Cup final on 19 April. Getafe have performed well on the road in this tournament, but Bayern possess an impressive home record, losing just once in Munich this season: against an RSC Anderlecht side they had already thrashed 5-0 in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie
Laudrup has virtually a full strength squad to choose from as Belenguer and winger Pablo Hernandez - the team's joint-leading scorer in the UEFA Cup with four goals - have both recovered from injury after missing the defeat to Osasuna at the weekend. Celestini was also a doubt but appears to have shaken off a training ground niggle.
The only absences for Laudrup are Cata Díaz (recently linked with Tottenham), who has a sprained knee and Lucas Licht who is suspended.
Former Barcelona midfielder, Mark Van Bommel is likely to miss the match for Bayern suffering with a cold.
The second leg at Getafe's Coliseum Alfonso Perez takes place on April 10, with the winners meeting either Bayer Leverkusen or Zenit St Petersburg in the semi-finals.