Championship play-off final: Brentford v Swansea City
|Location: Wembley stadium Dated: Saturday May 29 Start: 3:00 p.m. BST Blanket: Radio commentary on BBC Radio London and BBC Radio Wales, live updates on BBC Radio 5, and live commentary on BBC Sport website|
Brentford boss Thomas Frank said his side were “calm and focused” ahead of the Championship play-off final against Swansea City on Saturday.
The west London club are aiming to end a 74-year absence in the top flight, while the Swans last played in the Premier League in 2017-18.
The promotion could be worth around £ 160million to the winner.
Brentford, who finished third in the table for the second consecutive season, and Swansea, fourth, drew 1-1 in both meetings of the regular campaign.
Having defeat Bournemouth 3-2 on aggregate To book a new trip to the national stadium, Frank is hoping the Bees can build on their 2-1 loss to Fulham after extra time last August.
“I think that’s a plus – how much you don’t really know,” said the 47-year-old Dane.
“This experience from last year will help us in a way, but it’s not like we’re suddenly 20% better.
“It could help in the decisive moments.”
A crowd of 12,000 will be in attendance, with 5,000 supporters from each club, following an easing of lockdown restrictions in England.
“It will be a close game that will go to the tiniest of margins,” added Frank.
“It is very important that we do all that we can to be courageous and to make sure that when we look back we don’t regret a thing.”
That would mean everything – Cooper
Swansea reached the final with a 2-1 cumulative victory over Barnsley in the semi-finals.
The Swans were first promoted to the Premier League with an exhilarating 4-2 win over Reading in the Final of the 2011 championship play-offs.
They were relegated from the top flight three years ago and, having lost to Brentford in last season’s play-off semi-finals, Swansea is hoping to avenge the loss.
“It would mean everything,” said head coach Steve Cooper, in charge since 2019.
“The club has been there before, long before I arrived, and this trip was special.
“Then he was removed by relegation, the club had to recover with a different identity and rebuild.
“We got to this last game of the season and we gave ourselves a chance to win 50-50. This is something that we really have to do.
“It would mean everything for the city and everything for the club, and everyone is aware of it.
“It’s a huge motivation for us to do the job.”
Brentford will check midfielder Christian Norgaard, who dropped out of the second leg of his semi-final win over Bournemouth with a warm-up injury.
Left-back Rico Henry (hamstring) and midfielder Josh Dasilva, two of nine survivors of the XI that started against Fulham last year, are both absent.
Swansea will be without striker Wayne Routledge, who suffered a knee injury on the second leg of their semi-final victory over Barnsley.
As the 36-year-old may not be fit to play again until December and his contract expires at the end of Swansea’s season, Routledge may have played his last game for the club.
Match the facts
- The two league games between Brentford and Swansea City in 2020-21 ended 1-1 with the Bees taking the lead in both games. The Swans were the only side the Bees lost up to four points against after winning positions in the league’s regular campaign.
- This is the second season in a row that Brentford and Swansea have met in the Championship play-offs, with the London club knocking out the Swans 3-2 on aggregate in last season’s semi-finals.
- Brentford – who lost 2-1 to Fulham in the Championship play-off final last season – are the first team to reach back-to-back Championship play-off finals since Aston Villa in 2018 and 2019. The only team to lose finals consecutive second-tier play-offs was Leicester City in 1992 and 1993.
- Swansea City are looking to return to the Premier League following relegation in the 2017-18 season. They won in their only last appearance in the Championship Final, beating Reading 4-2 in the 2010-11 final under Brendan Rodgers.
- It will be Brentford’s eighth major final game in all competitions. They have lost the previous seven finals – three in the Football League trophy and four in the play-offs.
- This is the tenth different occasion that the teams finishing third and fourth in the second place meet in the play-off final, with the third-ranked teams having won promotion on six of the previous nine occasions. However, last season third-placed Brentford lost 2-1 to fourth-placed Fulham.
- No team has lost more Football League play-off finals than Brentford (four, tied with Reading and Sheffield United). They lost in 1997 against Crewe Alexandra, 2002 against Stoke City, 2013 against Yeovil Town and 2020 against Fulham.
- Brentford manager Thomas Frank could be the first Danish manager to win a promotion to the Football League, while Steve Cooper of Swansea could only be the second Welshman to win a promotion to the Premier League, after Tony Pulis in 2007 -08 with Stoke City, and only the third Welshman to lead a Welsh club in the elite (Bill Jones in 1959-60 with Cardiff and John Toshack in 1980-81 with Swansea).
- Brentford are looking to reach England’s top flight for the first time since the 1946-47 season, when they finished 21st and were relegated. If promoted, it will be 86 years since their last promotion to No.1 (1934-35), with only Bradford City having a longer gap between top promotions (1908-1999, a gap of 91 years).
- Including play-offs, Ivan Toney has been directly involved in 42 goals in 47 league appearances for Brentford this season (32 goals, 10 assists). Toney’s only previous appearance at Wembley was for Barnsley against Millwall in the 2016 Ligue 1 play-off final as a substitute, ending on the winning side that day.
- Swansea City forward Andre Ayew has scored 17 league goals this season (including play-offs), three more than any other Swans player. Ayew has already scored twice at Wembley, scoring a brace for West Ham against Spurs in a League Cup game which saw the Hammers come back from 2-0 to win 3-2.