El Centrocampista

Mallorca and Caparros eye Champions League dream

REUTERS/Enrique Calvo

Real Club Deportivo Mallorca travel to Getafe tonight having enjoyed one of their best ever starts in La Liga. After five games played, Joaquin Caparros’ men are one of just four sides still undefeated and will move back level with third-placed Malaga should they triumph at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez this evening.

Mallorca have won all three of their home games so far and have managed two impressive draws against Malaga and Osasuna on their travels. Their last home victory came against, in theory, the third best team in the league – Valencia, however, it is Mallorca and not Mauricio Pellegrino’s side that could be enjoying Champions League football next season.

Going back to the second half of last season, only four teams have managed more points than the islanders – Barcelona have picked up 62 points, Real Madrid have secured 58, Málaga 44 and Atlético 43 points from their last 24 league games. Mallorca have managed 41 points during that period – ten more points than Valencia or Levante and 14 more than last year Europe League runner-ups Athletic.

Mallorca have also managed to win 12 of their last 24 matches, conceding only 25 goals and scoring on 32 occasions. Caparros’ side enjoyed a fantastic second half to last season, managing the fifth best record in the league and only missed out on a European spot by three points. Impressively, however, that form has been carried into the new campaign.

In the last 10 La Liga matches, Mallorca have suffered just one defeat; winning seven and drawing two games. Only Barcelona with eight victories, one draw and one defeat have a better record during that time, not even Real Madrid can match los Bermellones – the reigning champions have picked up seven victories but have also suffered two defeats and one draw.

Although the big success story for Mallorca has been more to do with Joaquín Caparros than any one player, a number of individuals have also shone. Emilio Nsue, Víctor and Tomer Hemed have all been instrumental for Mallorca  in 2012. Between them they have scored 16 of Mallorca’s last 32 goals while also providing 13 of the last 27 assists. This means that from the last 32 league goals the three have played a direct part in all but four of Mallorca’s goals, with Víctor being most involved with direct participation in 10 goals.

Israeli star Hemed in particular has impressed this season, scoring four goals already, well on the way to surpassing his eight from last year. In fact Hemed has netted  in all but one match so far this campaign. While, with three assists, Nsue has managed half the assists of his team and proudly leads La Liga in this category so far.

Victory just south of the capital tonight would leave Mallorca in a strong position going into the third month of the 2012/13 season, their 16th successive campaign in the Spanish top flight.  Despite being one of the league’s less glamorous outfits, the islanders look set to continue their current impressive form and could just prove an outside bet for a tilt at Champions League football come next May.

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