The date of 29 May 2017 will certainly live long in the memory of Huddersfield Town supporters. Staring down the barrel of a painful penalty shootout defeat after 120 excruciating and goalless minutes at Wembley, Danny Ward and Christopher Schindler combined to send the Terriers into the top-flight of English football for the first time since 1972.

David Wagner did not allow himself much time to dwell on such a momentous victory and quickly set about strengthening his close-knit squad ahead of what is likely to be a tough maiden campaign in the Premier League.

Sufficiently backed by owner Dean Hoyle, the charismatic German broke Huddersfield's transfer record multiple times in the space of just a couple of weeks as popular former loanee Aaron Mooy, Porto's Laurent Depoitre, Derby County attacker Tom Ince and Montpellier striker Steve Mounie all arrived at the John Smith's Stadium.

Combative midfielder Danny Williams took the old 'if you can't beat them, join them' approach following the expiration of his Reading deal, while Scott Malone and Mathias 'Zanka' Jorgensen were also successfully recruited from Fulham and FC Copenhagen respectively.

Elsewhere, Kasey Palmer quickly rejoined from Chelsea and Elias Kachunga completed a permanent switch from Ingolstadt first agreed back in March. A disappointing failure to negotiate with Liverpool for the return of penalty hero Danny Ward was quickly offset by the signing of Danish goalkeeper Jonas Lossl on a season-long loan from Bundesliga outfit Mainz.

Last season

Championship: 5th

FA Cup: Fourth round

EFL Cup: First round

Top scorer: Elias Kachunga (13)

Manager - David Wagner

David Wagner
David Wagner's exploits at Huddersfield have made him a hot managerial property

A coaching disciple of Jurgen Klopp who worked extensively with the Liverpool boss at Borussia Dortmund and was coveted for a role on his backroom staff at Anfield, the 45-year-old has worked wonders since arriving in West Yorkshire as the surprise successor to Chris Powell in November 2015.

Cultivating an unbreakable team spirit and demonstrating tactical versatility beyond many of his peers in addition to a keen eye for an overseas bargain, Wagner, whose focus on fitness and pressing mirrors that of his former mentor, was swiftly rewarded for achieving promotion in his first full season at the helm with a new two-year contract.

Such a renewal, plus that of assistant Christoph Buehler, will have come as a significant relief to all connected with Huddersfield following links to several reputable clubs in both England and Germany. To embark upon this Premier League adventure without him would have been almost unthinkable.

Key player - Steve Mounie

If Huddersfield are to defy the odds and retain their top-flight status, then it will surely be a massive collective effort from all involved.

However, there is no doubt that they will be relying upon £11.5m ($14.9m) arrival Mounie to work alongside the likes of Kachunga, Depoitre and Ince to find the back of the net with regularity and sufficiently bolster a strikeforce that scored the second fewest goals in the Championship top half last term.

Steve Mounie
Can Steve Mounie fire Huddersfield to Premier League safety?

Of perhaps equal importance will be the performances of new number one Lossl, who will need to replicate and probably even better Ward's stellar 2016-17 performances to give Wagner's side a realistic hope of survival. Mooy, a Championship team of the year inductee, must also continue to shine in midfield after joining permanently from Manchester City.


Finishing 17th would be a fantastic achievement for Huddersfield, who are currently the bookmakers' favourites to make a quick return to the second tier. The club are unlikely to be phased by being so widely written off before a ball has even been kicked, instead hoping to once again thrive in their role as obvious underdogs despite a transfer outlay in excess of £35m.

Wagner has even gone as far as to claim that his team begin the new campaign as the biggest underdogs in the history of the Premier League. While that may not be strictly true, there is certainly a strong element of the unknown with the Terriers and they will hope to take full advantage of that.

IBT prediction - 19th

Still riding the crest of that promotion wave, it would not be a surprise to see Huddersfield take one or two notable early scalps and give skeptical pundits immediate food for thought. Team spirit combined with obvious managerial guile should prevent the three-time English champions from being cut adrift in the bottom three and they certainly will not be found wanting in terms of sheer fight.

If anyone is capable of pulling another rabbit out of the hat, then you get the feeling it's Wagner. However, at this stage it is difficult to foresee anything other than a valiant but ultimately unsuccessful battle against the drop.

Huddersfield Town
Huddersfield Town beat Reading at Wembley to end their 35-year exile from the top division of English football