What can we expect from David Wagner's Huddersfield this season?

Mike Holden by Mike Holden / 11 August 2017, 14:45

Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) takes a look at what we can expect from David Wagner and Huddersfield during the 2017/18 Premier League season.

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Background

David Wagner brought a touch of the Bundesliga to the Championship last season, guiding Huddersfield to promotion via the play-offs in spite of some curious statistics. The Terriers became the first ever team to reach the Premier League with a minus goal difference and they prevailed at Wembley without any of their players finding the net in 330 minutes of post-season normal play. But fortune favours the brave and Town held their nerve in two penalty shoot-outs to complete a phenomenal achievement on a bottom-six budget.

Personality

Most of what Wagner does is pre-configured - his philosophy, player recruitment, nutrition, match preparation. He decides what he wants well in advance and sticks rigidly to a plan. Much of his rationale is driven by a desire to control mood and temperament. Last summer, he signed several players accustomed to winning titles in the German lower leagues because he believed they would bring a winning mindset. He also advocates training roughly 24 hours before the next match, which means a session starting at 6.30pm the day before a night match.

Quote

"The excitement is still there ten weeks after the Wembley final. It never stops. We will try to do our best, try to bring our idea, our identity on the grass, even now at the highest level. We go into the season knowing exactly where we come from, how big the gap is financially. The atmosphere on tour in Austria was great. Every lunchtime new players sit on the table with new players, always swapping around. This is extraordinary. I have no concerns about harmony."

Verdict

Huddersfield’s arrival at the top table offers a handy lesson in base rates. You can draw comparisons with other unfashionable debutants like Barnsley, Blackpool and Hull but the financial playing field has never been more tilted. The Terriers could be brilliant in relation to their resources and still finish bottom. If they stay up, it would be sensational - much more remarkable than what happened last season. They’ve recruited wisely, with one eye on the future. They should just enjoy the experience and savour the moments that fuel a desire to return.

Prediction: 20th

David Wagner

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