Founded in 1928, this tiny club from the outskirts of Madrid stunned many observers last season by winning promotion to Liga Santander for the first time in its history. Asier Garitano’s Leganes side play at the Butarque, which seats just under 11,000 spectators, making it one of La Liga’s smallest stadiums.
After finishing as runners-up in La Liga 2 last season - that’s after never having cracked the top seven in that division - Leganés recorded its first Primera win in its first attempt Monday, as a Victor Diaz goal stunned Celta Vigo 1-0 at Balaidos. The famous result should give Asier Garitano’s Lega a shot of confidence as Atlético Madrid come to town Saturday looking for their first win of the season.
The victory over Celta Vigo showed us a couple things about Leganés. After initially holding a surprised Celta at bay in the first half, Garitano’s men began to push on and play some surprising combinations, resulting in some dangerous opportunities against the Galicians. These chances culminated with the right back Diaz’ goal as Lega held on over the final 15 minutes, withstanding a surge forward from Celta.
Second, Garitano has not hesitated to alter the formula for success with the move up to the top flight. His top scorer from 2015-16, winger Alexander Szymanowski, didn't get off the bench in last week's win. The Argentine didn’t fit into Garitano’s 5-4-1 plan for that game and the gutsy call worked. It’s early days, of course, but Leganes’ depth will be crucial in the race for survival.
Not many have given Leganes a great chance at securing a second season of Liga Santander football but the Butarque club have other ideas. A point (or better) against Atletico on Saturday will prove further the team’s resolve to ensure its Primera stay extends past nine months.