Huddersfield Town were not at all promotion favourites following a 19th placed finish in previous Championship campaign. But David Wagner, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp’s teammate at Mainz and assistant at Borussia Dortmund, welcomed the challenge and transformed them into a top-notch outfit following a mass exodus in summer and 17 new signings. The Terriers, amazingly, finished within top six to earn a playoff spot and eventually clinched a victory against favourites Reading in the play-off final (in tie-breaker) thus getting promoted to the top tier of English football for the first time in 45 years.
Players Who Impressed This Season
Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner used his contacts in Germany to bring in a few new faces. He loaned in a few exciting young talents from Premier League heavyweights and formed a squad to compete with top-notch Championship outfits who had recent spells in Premier League football. The tactician succeeded with such unfamiliar resources in form of Aaron Mooy, Danny Ward, Christopher Schindler etc to name a few. Mooy, the Manchester City loanee, enjoyed a highly impressive campaign in midfield, whereas Liverpool custodian Danny Ward assured stability and consistency between the sticks. The Welshman pulled off crucial saves in both the playoff semifinal and final during tie-breakers thus helping his side to earn a promotion. Schindler, the German centre-back, was rock solid defensively throughout the campaign and had a stellar show in the play-off final where he not only guided his back-line to keep a clean-sheet but also scored the decisive spot-kick in tie-breaker.
Players Who Disappointed The Most
It was a collective effort by the Terriers and some unfamiliar names played their hearts out to make the impossible possible. Those lion-hearted performances and unparalleled football spirit under a confident manager can never be termed as a disappointment.
Huddersfield only managed to stay up in the league avoiding a relegation scare under Wagner who joined them in the middle of the 2015-16 campaign. Wagner trimmed his squad ruthlessly and brought in a number of new resources in order to change their fate and improve as a team who can get closer to a promotion in near future. But the Terriers had a flying start and the underdogs eventually managed to clinch a playoff spot. They were confident, determined and resolved to script a fairytale and they did it in the most dramatic way when they knocked off favourites Reading in tie-breaker despite falling behind at one stage.
Areas of Improvement
They might have done a miracle in Championship, the Premier League, however, is a different game and they might have to swallow the grim reality of a weak squad and need reinforcements in every department who will be experienced enough to compete in Europe’s most competitive domestic league. Financial frailty might be a big concern, yet, the management is trying to make Aaron Mooy’s move permanent and Wagner is confident of keeping Danny Ward for another season. Although they have tied down their top-scorer Elias Kachunga on a permanent transfer from Ingolstadt, the Terriers need an experienced number 9 who can add goals and lead their attack. He has reportedly made New Zealand and Leeds United striker Chris Wood his prime transfer target who has bagged the most number of goals in 2015-16 Championship campaign.
Expectations From 2017-18
Huddersfield’s one and only aspiration will be to retain their top-flight status that they earned after 45 years of hard work and belief. Wagner, hailed for his scouting and managing skills, is the right man to meet the demands and expectations.
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