Huddersfield Town will make their first ever appearance in the Premier League next season, after proving the doubters wrong by securing promotion via the Championship Play-Offs.
In November 2015, David Wagner succeeded Chris Powell, who was sacked after accumulating only three victories in his first 15 games. The German-born coach had taken over a club clearly craving renovation and transformation.
The Terriers finished 19th place in the 2015/16 season and were tipped to suffer relegation at the beginning of last season. However, David Wagner masterminded various summer transfer acquisitions and assembled a physically empowering and vigorous squad.
David Wagner plucked obscure talent from across the continent, especially from his native Germany, to rebuild Huddersfield’s crumbling team. Michael Hefele and Chris Lowe signed from Dynamo Dresden and FC Kaiserslautern respectively on free transfers.
Christopher Schindler joined from 1860 Munich for £1.8 million and Rajiv Van La Parra swapped Wolverhampton Wanderers for Huddersfield Town. The loan system was also pivotal in helping the club achieve promotion.
Elias Kachunga, Aaron Mooy, Danny Ward and Kasey Palmer joined on season-long loans and Izzy Brown arrived from Chelsea in January. Joel Lynch and James Vaughan left the club and major players had their playing time reduced to accommodate the new signings.
It was a genius move by Huddersfield’s leader David Wagner, who was set to cause havoc in one of the most competitive division’s in European football. Wagner implemented a fresh playing style, revolving around possession football and attacking with width.
He’d seemingly employed technically gifted players, who were fully capable of executing his plans in motion. Aaron Mooy, who’s recently signed a permanent deal with the Terriers, was the engine in the heart of midfield.
The Australian international made an average of 69.3 passes per game and boasts a passing completion rate of 82.6%. Mooy also averaged 2.1 key passes and finished last season with seven assists.
Elias Kachunga and Nakhi Wells proposed Huddersfield’s biggest attacking threat in the Championship. The attacking duo scored 22 goals combined and averaged four shots per game between them.
Wagner took charge of a dilapidated house and transformed it into a modernised grand design. The adventure continues in the mysterious world of the Premier League and success in arguably the world’s best football division will prove whether he’s constructed the finished product.
Huddersfield’s Journey into Dreamland
Huddersfield Town narrowly avoided relegation and finished 19th place in the 2015/16 campaign. It would’ve been unthinkable at the start of the season to imagine playing in the Premier League and the team’s objective was to preserve their Championship status.
Former first team regulars Mark Hudson, Harry Bunn and Sean Scannell were only used sparingly by Wagner, who’d discovered more talented and efficient players. In hindsight, David Wagner had formed a strong case to challenge for the play-offs, although we were so oblivious to it in the early stages.
David Wagner guided Huddersfield Town to first place in the Championship at the beginning of September. The Terriers formed a six-match unbeaten streak, beating Newcastle United and Leeds United in the process.
Their form dropped drastically in the following matches and a possible push for the play-offs seemed unlikely. Seven defeats in their next 13 fixtures, including a demoralizing 5-0 defeat at Fulham, left them outside the play-off in 8th place.
Huddersfield Town reignited their hopes of promotion by winning 13 of their next 17 fixtures. Izzy Brown joined the club on-loan from Chelsea for the remainder of the season and made an effective impact during a run of six consecutive wins.
They plummeted to fifth place, after suffering six defeats in their final 10 games of the season. The Terriers suffered two physiologically damaging defeats to Bristol City and Fulham, in which they conceded four goals in both games.
The Terriers faced a two-legged tie against Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship Play-Offs semi-final. Both teams were unable to separate themselves from one another in 210 minutes of football and Huddersfield booked their ticket to Wembley on penalties.
On 29 May, Reading and Huddersfield Town contested in a scrappy dogfight to secure promotion to the Premier League at Wembley Stadium. Penalties were required yet again and Huddersfield were the masters from the penalty spot to become the 49th team in the Premier League era.
Will Huddersfield Town avoid the dreaded drop next season?
Huddersfield Town are the bookies favourite to suffer relegation next season at 8/11. The Terriers are also only 13/5 to finish bottom place and 11/8 to avoid relegation. However, our Twitter followers feel optimistic of Huddersfield’s hopes, with 74% backing them to avoid the dreaded drop.
— GB Articles (@gbarticles) July 2, 2017
In terms of transfers, David Wagner and the boardroom staff have been busy in improving the team for the Premier League. Firstly, they secured the signatures of Elias Kachunga, Kasey Palmer and Aaron Mooy.
Both players spent last season on-loan at the John Smith’s Stadium and were unarguably the most effective loanees. Kachunga, who finished Huddersfield’s top goal scorer with 12 Championship goals, left Ingolstadt for £1.1 million. Aaron Mooy signed from Manchester City for £8 million and became the most expensive Australian footballer.
Wagner has also acquired the services of Tom Ince from Derby County. However, they failed to sign Danny Ward on a permanent basis, who will be staying at Liverpool next season.
Huddersfield Town have also signed Belgian forward Laurent Depoitre from FC Porto for £3.5 million. The 28-year-old made only 13 appearances and scored two goals in all competitions with the Dragons last season.
Danish goalkeeper Jonas Lossl is likely to be Danny Ward’s replacement, after signing on a season-long loan from Mainz. Lossl played 34 times in all competition last season but Rene Adler’s arrival has led to the 28-year-old’s departure.
Wagner has announced Inter Milan defender Andrea Ranocchia is currently on his watch list. Montpellier forward Steve Mounie has also reportedly agreed personal terms and is set to have a medical ahead of an £11.5 million move.
46.7% of teams promoted to the Premier League in the past five seasons have suffered relegation. Three of the last four Champions Play-Off winners have suffered relegation in the following season.
However, Huddersfield Town’s possession style of play is well suited to the Premier League and their talented technical players could test Premier League defences. Improving their away form is pivotal to preserving their top flight status as this was clearly a weakness last term.