Thank the heavens the international break has come to an end. Now we can go back to the more interesting happenings in the soccer world.
And nothing has been more eye-opening than the current third-placed team in the English Premier League.
Huddersfield Town. The Terriers.
The newly promoted team has become an overnight Premier League fan-favorite for its tenacity and underdog status.
And it’s all for a good reason.
In its first-ever Premier League match, the newly promoted side trounced first-division-vet Crystal Palace 3-0 to share the top of the table for just one week.
Then, a 1-0 victory against another newly promoted side, but a Premier League history Newcastle United squad put Huddersfield in second on goal difference.
That “underdog” status? The Terriers have a 1500-1 chance of winning the Premier League title in its first season.
Now, there’s a chance we’re getting on our high-horse here and putting so much emphasis on a club that can be fighting relegation in the coming months, but fans always want to hear a great Cinderella Story just like Leicester City just two years ago.
So how did Huddersfield get here?
In its early years, it won the First Division title three consecutive years, a feat that only Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool have accomplished.
The Town spent 45 years wandering around in England’s lower divisions, and before being promoted in 2017, the last time the team was in top-flight football was in 1972.
Huddersfield spent a year in the Championship before current manager David Wagner took over in the 2015 season and led the Terriers to the Premier League with a top-six, second-division finish and defeated Reading in the playoff match in penalties last season.
The Terriers busted their way into the playoff final dumping Sheffield Wednesday in the previous round’s penalty shootout.
Speaking of playoffs, Huddersfield finished with seven players in the Championship playoffs best XI, and of those notable on the list is returning midfielder Aaron Mooy and fullback Tommy Smith.
Smith led the squad with a league-second best 10 assists and was named the captain of the team at the start of the Premier League season.
Australian international midfielder Mooy has been the highlight of the season so far, assisted twice in the season opener against Crystal Palace and scored a week later against Newcastle.
Aaron Mooy for Huddersfield last season:
Most passes completed (2,633)
Most chances created (98)
Most tackles won (83)
Key to success. 🔑 pic.twitter.com/6SS2SQmgcY
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 6, 2017
Mooy recently signed on a permanent basis from Manchester City, which loaned him out to the Terriers two seasons ago.
Tom Ince, former England international and West Ham and Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince’s son, also signed for Huddersfield prior to the start of the season.
Ince previously played for former, fellow Championship side Derby County, contributing 14 of the team’s 53 goals.
The team’s striker?
He’s the team’s most expensive purchase this offseason.
22-year-old Steve Mounie joined the Terriers for 11.5 million pounds and already has two goals in his first three matches. Impressive.
Other players to watch would be winger Elias Kachunga, newly-signed center-back Mathias Jorgensen, and on-loan Mainz goalkeeper Jonas Lossl.
But what’s more impressive is the aforementioned club manager David Wagner.
Former U.S. men’s national team striker Wagner steers the ship that’s risen from depths of the Championship.
With only eight international caps, Wagner is no Clint Dempsey, but his managerial impact is obvious. Wagner floated around in the Bundesliga as a player before hanging his boots for further higher education.
Then came his managerial career.
Under Jurgen Klopp’s wing at Borussia Dortmund, Wagner managed the reserve side while his German compatriot handled the first division side.
In Wagner’s first season, he helped promote the reserve side to the German third division and maintained its presence there before departing for England in 2015 to help a club on the brink of relegation to the third division.
There, he continued to escalate his squad to higher grounds, and here we are speaking about a club’s unimaginable run.
Now, with a 0-0 draw against Southampton in its third Premier League match, Huddersfield continues to defy the odds and is still only one of two clubs that have not conceded a goal in each of its first three matches (to put things in perspective, the other team is Manchester United).
Can the new club maintain this form throughout the season, or is it just beginner’s luck?
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Huddersfield was last in the First Division in 1970 when it was actually 1972. Additionally, manager David Wagner actually took over the club in 2015, not the 2016-2017 season.