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Segunda Focus: Girona on the cusp of La Liga

For the first time ever, Girona may get to play among the big boys.

Catalonia Daily Life Ahead of Regional Elections Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Girona, until now has mainly been thought of (if at all) as a home of Jewish learning in the early Middle Ages (Ramban came from there) or, more recently as the home of El Celler de Can Roca, one of the finest restaurants in the world.

But now, Girona is very close to adding another feather to its cap, because its football team is on track to join La Liga next season, for the first time ever! After falling in the playoffs three of the last four seasons, they are hoping to finish second behind Levante, and they posted an impressive 3-1 win over Huesca today to go 10 points clear over Getafe in third place, though the Madrid-area side have a game in hand.

Girona’s remaining matches are away to already-promoted Levante, home vs Alcorcon and Real Zaragoza, away to Nastic Tarragona and Cordoba. The last two are struggling against relegation (as is Alcorcon): so is it better to be playing clubs who are in the bottom of the table, or teams that have nothing to play for? We may find out.

Girona have a bunch of players with good pedigrees in the Segunda (including ex-Villarreal B man Kiko Olivas) but their leading goalscorer is a loanee from Inter Milan, Samuele Longo. I’m sure coach Pablo Machin would love to sign him permanently, but how likely is that?

On the other hand, Getafe, their closest chasers, are relying for their goals on 35 year-old Jorge Molina, signed on a free from Real Betis. Molina is a Segunda scorer par excellence (16 this season, 63 in his last four Segunda campaigns) but still....

Getafe seem to have followed Villarreal’s lead in bringing in experienced players (Daniel Diaz, 37, Boca Juniors defender; David Fuster, 25, midfielder, ex-Villarreal and Olympiakos, and they kept Mehdi Lacen (33, midfielder) but a wholesale roster change is surely in order if they return to the Primera.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. The current standings are:

Levante 77 (promoted), Girona 68, Getafe 58, Cadiz 57, Huesca 55, Tenerife 55, Real Oviedo 53.

The bottom is a real dogfight, with Almeria, Cordoba and Elche and Nastic all on 42, Alcorcon 40, Mallorca 39. Only Mirandes seem dead in the water, on 33 points. Which means Jon Aurternetxe, who was a starting defender for Athletic Bilbao and Celta Vigo in the Primera, will be relegated; so too ex- Villarreal B attacker Fofo. Mirandes’s roster is pretty much all under 30 years of age, and its hard to succeed with youth in the Segunda; craft and guile, a/k/a experience, tend to be rewarded over speed).