Some of the very last fixtures of the footballing calendar every year are the Spanish play-offs, and the second division is no different.
This year will see four clubs from all over the country come face to face for a place in the top flight, with none of them in any kind of good form. With none of the four sides having won more than two of their final five fixture of the normal league season, at least one will need to up their game.
Set-up, fixtures and dates
The play-offs from Spain’s second division work much like play-offs in the English Football League, unlike from Segunda B.
The top four teams will face off, with third facing sixth and fourth and fifth facing each other. In both cases, the aide who finished the season higher in the league will play the second leg of the semi-final at home.
The higher ranked team will also benefit from that advantage in the final, when the two victorious semi-finalists face a further two legs in order to win promotion to La Liga.
Huesca vs Getafe – Wednesday 14th June, 20:00
Cadiz vs Tenerife – Thursday 15th June, 20:00
Getafe vs Huesca – Saturday 17th June, 20:00
Tenerife vs Cadiz – Sunday 18th June, 20:00
Final first leg – TBC
Final second leg – TBC
Relegated from La Liga last season, there are few recognisable players from that squad. However, some names will be known by Premier League fans, such as the like of ex-QPR man Alejandro Faurlin and former Liverpool youngster Dani Pacheco.
Managed by Pepe Bordalas, who won promotion with Alaves before being sacked last summer, ex-Betis striker Jorge Molina has led the way with his 20 league goals despite being 35 years of age.
With free flowing attacking football whilst remaining responsible at the back, Getafe must go into the play-offs as favourites after a very impressive campaign and even more impressive turnaround.
Hoping to return to the top flight after relegation in 2010, the island outfit leapfrogged their rivals Cadiz on the final day after spending much of the season in the top six.
Manager José Luis Martí Soler is still in his first job in management, having been appointed in 2015 at the club where he spent three years as a player. That time has seen continued improvement, given that the club were often languishing in the bottom half of the table in the years previously.
Led by the likes of captain Suso and vice-captain Vitolo, both of whom are also in their second spells at the club after time abroad, their team is full of homegrown talent who could be said to be performing above expectations.
Only promoted from Segunda B last season, this season has been one of overachievement for the south coast club. It has been the peak of a remarkable year in charge for Alvaro Cervero, the former Tenerife manager who was only appointed last April.
Cadiz have built a side around the idea of conceding few whilst retaining some attacking flair. Despite their intense discipline going against many of the traditions of the game, it has worked wonders.
However, only two wins from their final 12 games, with seven of those fixtures ending 1-1, put an end to any hope of a challenge for automatic promotion and will be a concern going into these play-offs.
The underdogs, Huesca have spent just seven years of their history in the second division let alone the top flight. Now that is within touching distance at El Alcoraz, the smallest stadium in these play-offs with a capacity of just 5,500.
Based in Aragon, Huesca have picked up on many of the scraps from their neighbours in Catalonia and the Basque Country and have invested to push them on to the next level with this play-off campaign.
Having narrowly seen off giants Real Valladolid with their head to head record after finishing level on points, Huesca may be minnows but they cannot be underestimated by their competitors.
Only five points separated these four sides in the league tables, so it’s bound to be close. Getafe will go into the final rounds of the league as favourites and should have the quality and experience to regain their top flight status, but both Tenerife and Cadiz will prove to be tough competitors.