After the red-and-whites beat Tenerife in the playoffs, FC Barcelona can look forward to the return of the local derby next season
Following Sunday’s playoff final second leg at the Heliodoro Rodríguez López, Girona FC have been confirmed as the third of the new faces that will be playing in La Liga next season.
After failing to make it through two playoffs, the side from the north of Catalonia beat Eibar and then Tenerife to return to the top flight after being relegated three years ago, meaning the return of the Catalan derby to FC Barcelona’s menu.
Miguel Ángel Sánchez Muñoz, better known as "Míchel", has now won promotion with three different clubs, having also guided Rayo Vallecano (2017/18) and Huesca (2019/20) up to the first division.
35-year-old Uruguayan Cristhian Stuani was another main artifice of the season for the red-and-whites, contributing 24 goals to the cause. Creative players like Álex Baena, Pol Lozano and Aleix Garcia are also key cogs in the machine, and former Barça man Arnau Martínez has been excellent down the right.
Girona sneaked into the playoffs in seventh place, meaning they had certain disadvantages top contend with, but came from behind to stun Eibar, who had finished third, and then won 3-1 in Tenerife after the first leg had ended without score.
Girona were beaten in the playoffs by Elche in 2020 and Rayo Vallecano in 2021.
Girona’s first experiences of La Liga happened between 2017 and 2019. In their first season they finished an impressive tenth in the table, but were well beaten in their games with Barça, 3-0 at home and 6-1 at Camp Nou.
The following season, however, they earned a 2-2 draw at Camp Nou, the only time they avoided defeat to the blaugrana, but lost 2-0 at their own Montilivi stadium. They ended up being relegated, but will be back again for more in the 2022/23 season