A place in the promised land of the Premier League awaits when Brentford and Swansea lock horns in the Championship Playoff Final, one of the red-letter occasions of any English football season.
To the winners - a financial windfall of roughly £170m. For the losers, heartbreak. The stakes really couldn't be higher at Wembley so here's all the info you need to make some well-informed picks.
The Bees came from behind to see off Bournemouth in a pulsating semifinal tie, while the Swans largely controlled their two-legged tie with surprise playoff package Barnsley.
When Brentford went 2-0 behind on aggregate against the Cherries, manager Thomas Frank would have been deeply worried that another year of promise and quality football was about to end with no tangible reward, but the Bees have secured a deserved successive playoff final place and will be desperate to make up for falling at the final hurdle in 2020.
A 21-match unbeaten streak got Brentford back into contention for automatic promotion after a slugging start to the season, while it took another 12-game period without defeat to eventually secure the third spot.
While they ended the season with six defeats in 11, Swansea looked close to their best by dispatching a well-drilled Barnsley outfit.
Brentford must overcome the club's cup final hoodoo - the West Londoners have lost all eight of their previous finals, while no team has lost more playoff finals (4) in EFL history.
🔮 Likely XIs
🐝 Brentford (3-4-2-1):
Raya; Dalsgaard, Jansson, Pinnock; Rasmussen, Jensen, Janelt, Canos; Marcondes, Mbeumo; Toney
🦢 Swansea (4-3-3):
Woodman; Naughton, Cabango, Guehi, Bidwell; Fulton, Grimes, Hourihane; Ayew, Routledge, Lowe
🔑 Key stats
- Since the famous Sunderland 4-4 Charlton showpiece in 1998, 14 (64%) Championship Playoff finals have featured under 2.5 goals.
- 50% of those 22 encounters produced no more than a solitary goal, including six of the last eight.
- Only four of the last 20 finals have seen both teams score.
- A fascinating contrast exists here with Swansea seeing 70% of their regular-season matches feature under 2.5 goals, coming up against the division's top goal-scorers.
- Brentford has lost just one of its last 14 matches.
- Brentford’s Ivan Toney saw over a third (11) of his record-breaking 31 regular-season Championship goals act as match openers.
- Eight of the last nine Championship play-off finals have been settled by a one-goal margin or drawn (90 mins).
💶 Our pick: Brentford to win & under 3.5 goals
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