Having secured their Premier League status with a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Chelsea a little over 12 months ago, Huddersfield’s fairytale journey came to an end as they succumbed to relegation on 30 March.
The Terriers, who sealed promotion to the top flight after beating Reading in the 2017 Sky Bet Championship play-off final, failed to win any of their opening 10 games of the season – picking up just three points in the process.
Two victories and a draw in November briefly lifted David Wagner’s side out of the bottom three, but a run of eight straight defeats – including losses against relegation rivals Brighton and Hove Albion, Newcastle United, Southampton, Fulham and Burnley – left Huddersfield rooted to the foot of the table and staring relegation in the face.
A 0-0 stalemate at Cardiff City briefly stopped the rot, but Wagner, who had incredibly guided the West Yorkshire side to the Promised Land, opted to leave the club by mutual consent stating his desire to “take a break from the rigours of football management,” said Town chairman Dean Hoyle.
U23s coach Mark Hudson stepped in as caretaker and was thrown into the lions’ den as Premier League champions Manchester City visited Huddersfield. Pep Guardiola’s side eased to a 3-0 victory and the Terriers turned to another German with Borussia Dortmund links in Jan Siewert.
Barnsley Assistant Andreas Winkler swapped Oakwell for the John Smith’s Stadium to team up with Siewert, whom he had worked with during his time at Rot-Weiss Essen.
Their first task was a home clash against Everton, who had just been dumped out of the Emirates FA Cup by Championship outfit Millwall. However, Town made the worst possible start as Richarlison scored what proved to be the game’s only goal inside three minutes.
Three more defeats would follow – including a 5-0 thrashing at Stamford Bridge – before Siewert registered his first win on English soil. Steve Mounié’s injury time goal sparked wild scenes of celebration against an in-form Wolverhampton Wanderers side on 28 February.
That would prove to be Huddersfield’s last win of the campaign. Four games and four losses later and their return to the second tier was confirmed at Crystal Palace – where the journey had begun in August 2017.
Siewert’s side took just two points from their remaining six games as they finished the campaign with the third worst points tally in Premier League history (16).
Preparation for life in the Championship is well underway, with six first team players having already departed the club. Chris Löwe has returned to Germany with Dynamo Dresden, while goalkeeper Jonas Lössl will remain in the Premier League with Everton.
The Terriers also recruited striker Karlan Grant from Charlton Athletic in January and will be hoping that he can have a positive impact ahead of the upcoming campaign.
Huddersfield have won five of the last 10 meetings with Barnsley, the most recent of which was in August 2016 as Jonathan Hogg scored a last-gasp winner in West Yorkshire.
However, Reds supporters will always fondly remember the infamous 1998 demolition derby when Darren Barnard scored that goal at Oakwell in a 7-1 victory.