The Sky Bet Championship semi-final play-off sees Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield Town battle it out for a place in the final, and the chance to take part in the richest single game in world football. The two Yorkshire sides have surprised many by just being part of the roller coaster ride that is the play-offs, for Huddersfield it is the chance to join the elite of English football for the first time, whilst Wednesday will be desperate to rejoin after a falling out of The Premiership in 2000.
Over the two legs the game will allow the chance for some of the players to take part in the biggest game of their careers so far, which will either cause them to shine or freeze. Sheffield Wednesday reached the final last year, losing 1-0 to fellow Yorkshire club Hull, which will not only motivate them, but also ensure that they have the required experience to see their rivals off. Key to the game could be form, whilst Huddersfield have stumbled over the line ensuring their play-off place, losing three of their last four, Wednesday have romped home winning five of their last six.
Can Huddersfield Town beat Sheffield Wednesday for a chance to make it to The Premiership?
Play-off games are, like Championship games, difficult to call, but recent result between the two sides could give an indicator, The Owls have won the last four games against The Terriers in all competitions and could repeat this here. A tight game between them could see a late goal nick the opening tie. In the previous four meetings, the two sides were level at half time before Wednesday went on to win at full time. For the game to be drawn at half time and Sheffield Wednesday to win at full time is 13/2 with Betfred.
It is difficult to look past Wednesday here, they seem to have the better over their opponents in recent times. Despite the game being at home for Huddersfield, Wednesday have come away from the John Smith's Stadium with a clean sheet in their last six meetings. Wednesday are 9/4 to keep a clean sheet with bet365.
The Terriers have surprised everyone by even reaching the play-offs, and it is down to no small part in their manager David Wagner, who was part of Jurgen Klopp's Dortmund team. He has used all his knowledge to compile a side that are difficult to predict, on occasions the side has been woeful, including losing three of their final four games, but the campaign has seen the side look like a team who have taken on all that experience, and for the most majority of the season, the side have been outstanding.
There is no doubting that they will be clear underdogs when the face their Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday, for them to have chance of progressing through to the final they will need to be solid and come away with a victory against their much fancied opponents. To go to Hillsborough and have a realistic chance of making it to the final, they will need to outscore their opponents in this home tie, and with the return of their star man Elias Kachunga doubtful, The Terrier's fans will hope Naki Wells can provide them with the goals they need. Naki Wells is 5/1 with bet365 to score the opening goal.
This game is looking very difficult for Huddersfield to ensure that they still have a chance of making it to Wembley, not helped by on loan Liverpool keeper Danny Ward being suspended for this game, key injuries, poor form and facing a Wednesday full of confidence and goals. They need to keep it tight here and although for them to win looks very unlikely here, German coach Wagner's side have been surprising everyone this season in their never say die attitude. For them to be level at half time and win at full time looks a very tempting 5/1 with Betfair Sportsbook.
Can David Wagner mastermind a win for the chance to join his friend Jurgen Klopp in The Premiership?
A chance to put last seasons play-off final heartache to one side and take part in the shootout for the Premier League, could be all the motivations the Owls need. The side are looking like strong favorites heading into the tie with their rivals. The Wednesday side have a strong attack, including Steven Fletcher, Jordan Rhodes, Fernando Forestieri and it could be Scottish International Rhodes who could come back to haunt his former side in this game.
The former Terriers man has had a stop start career, despite being prolific in League One and The Championship, he has failed to make the grade when moving the Premiership with Middlesbrough and will fancy having another crack at the big time with his new side and Rhodes could make the difference in this game, which will be tight. Jordan Rhodes is 14/1 with Coral to score two or more goals.
Despite being clear favorites for this game, Huddersfield have proved time and again this season that they are a tough nut to crack and although the results between the two sides in previous meeting makes it look like it could be an easy win for Wednesday here, but Wagner has drilled them into becoming a side difficult to beat. For Sheffield Wednesday to be leading at half time and for the game to be drawn is 17/1 with Bet Victor and looks a very decent bet.
Will former Huddersfield man Jordan Rhodes return to haunt his old side?
FORM (LAST SIX GAMES)
Huddersfield Town: WDLWLL
Sheffield Wednesday: WWWWWL
- There has been under 2.5 goals in the last nine meeting between Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday at The John Smiths Stadium.
- Sheffield Wednesday have won their last three away matches.
- Huddersfield have conceded over two goals in their last three home games.
- There has been under 2.5 goals in five of Sheffield Wednesday's last six away games.
CURRENT MATCH ODDS (BEST PRICED ODDS)
The Owls seem destined to fly to Wembley over the two legs, with them having home advantage in the deciding game, it would require a complete contrast to the form guide between the two sides to see Huddersfield complete the shock of beating their opponents. For them to have any chance in the return leg at Hillsborough, the Terriers will have to be dogged in their defence and keep Wednesday out, but they have surprised everyone this season and in their manager David Wagner, they have a tactician that is able to get the most out of his side. I fancy them to nick a tight game
Huddersfield look clear underdogs here, but the Terriers are strong at home, 1-0 to them.