They might have come a little later this year, but there's still nothing quite like the buzz of a Championship playoff, and one of football's most exciting formats starts with an absolute corker of a tie as Brentford travel to Wales to face Steve Cooper's Swansea City.
With two games left to play, Brentford looked home and hosed, while an eighth-placed Swansea were in need of a considerable amount of good fortune to reignite their playoff push.
And then, Championship football did what it does best, and produced the outcome that precisely none of us expected, with Brentford's automatic promotion hopes vanishing in a dramatic final-day defeat, and Swansea taking advantage of an almost unprecedented six-goal swing to swing themselves above Nottingham Forest and keep their season alive.
Will Brentford hold it together after being one of the Championship's best sides for most of the season? Or can Swansea produce a first-leg victory to keep the momentum of an unlikely run going? Read on for 90min's preview of a much-anticipated matchup...
Where to Watch
When is Kick Off? Sunday 26 July
What Time is Kick Off? 18:30 (BST)
Where is it Played? Liberty Stadium
TV Channel/Live Stream? Sky Sports Main Event
Referee? Keith Stroud
Steve Cooper will not be able to count on Freddie Woodman and George Byers as they continue their rehabiliation from respective hip and ankle injuries, while defenders Joe Rodon and Ben Wilmot will also not take part in the rest of the season after picking up knocks of their own.
Swansea's long injury list also includes Wayne Routledge, who managed to injure himself scoring the goal against Reading that gave Swansea a playoff berth, and Mike van der Hoorn, who has been recovering from a knee injury. However, Cooper refused to rule out either from the tie against Brentford.
Kyle Naughton will also be suspended for the Swans on Sunday, but will be back in time for the second leg at Griffin Park.
Brentford have had considerably better injury luck, and although they will be missing Nikos Karelis, struggling with a long-term knee injury, they will more or less have a full squad to choose from against Swansea.
Swansea: Mulder; Roberts, Cabango, Guehi, Bidwell; Grimes, Gallagher, Fulton; Kalulu, Brewster, Ayew
Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard, Jansson, Pinnock, Henry; Jensen, Norgaard, Da Silva; Mbuemo, Watkins, Benrahma
It's not always about being in scintillating form in the Championship, but about keeping your heads when all around you are losing theirs. While Swansea's three wins in five games would constitute a decent run in most leagues, faced with a faltering Forest side - and Derby, Millwall and Preston teams who couldn't stand the heat - it was just about good enough for playoff football.
The most spectacular of these victories was their most recent - a 4-1 victory over Reading which, mirrored by Forest's 4-1 implosion against Stoke gave the Swans the exact necessary goal difference to book that all-important sixth-placed finish.
For Brentford, it seems like their club's recent form can be divided into two distinct eras - before they knew about West Brom losing to Huddersfield, and after.
Brentford had won their last seven (yes, seven) games before Emile Smith-Rowe's surprise winner put the Baggies' promotion hopes in serious doubt, and all the Bees had to do was find four points in their next two games against relegation candidates Barnsley and Stoke to secure their top-flight status (and they could have ultimately got promotion simply by beating Barnsley after West Brom drew to QPR on the final day). But this is the Championship, so naturally, they lost both of them. What a league!
Here's a look at how both sides have got on recently...
Reading 1-4 Swansea (22/7)
Swansea 1-0 Bristol City (18/7)
Nottingham Forest 2-2 Swansea (15/7)
Swansea 0-1 Leeds (12/7)
Birmingham 1-3 Swansea (8/7)
Brentford 1-2 Barnsley (22/7)
Stoke 1-0 Brentford (18/7)
Brentford 1-0 Preston (15/7)
Derby 1-3 Brentford (11/7)
Brentford 2-1 Charlton (7/7)
Make no mistake about it, this is going to be an enormous test of Brentford's mental fortitude - how will they handle going from one of the league's most formidable sides to just one of many teams in the playoff lottery?
Meanwhile, Swansea may well be feeling invincible after doing the impossible against Reading, and could use their underdog status to motivate themselves to go one further.
Ultimately, you still have to fancy Brentford for the tie - their front three of Said Benrahma, Ollie Watkins and Bryan Mbuemo just has too much for almost any Championship team at its glorious best, and they simply need to rediscover their composure and they will have too much for Swansea.
As with most playoff first legs, this is likely to be a cagey one, but the message at the end of the evening will be - advantage Brentford.
Prediction: Swansea 0-1 Brentford
Source : 90min