Meet the opposition | Brentford

25th July
First team

As Swansea City prepare to host Brentford in the first leg of the Championship play-off semi-finals, we take a closer look at the Bees.

What’s their story?

Brentford Jay Fulton

The Bees are in their sixth season in the second tier, having secured automatic promotion from League One under Mark Warburton in 2014.

They made the Championship play-offs the following season, and have yet to finish outside the top half since their return to the division.

The West London club have become renowned for their ability to remain competitive on a budget while producing an attractive brand of football.

Arguably the finest spell in their history came during the 1930s when they finished in the top six of the top flight in three consecutive seasons.

How’s their form?

David Raya

Flawless before a late stutter. The Bees were in simply magnificent form following the resumption of the season in June.

They won seven games in a row and looked to be on the verge of overhauling West Brom and claiming the second automatic promotion spot.

However, they suffered back-to-back defeats against Stoke and Barnsley to ensure they missed out and ended up in the play-offs.

Despite those setbacks, they remain a dangerous opponent.

Who’s the boss?

Thomas Frank. Having taken over from Dean Smith following the former manager's departure for Aston Villa, Dane Frank overcome a difficult start to make the Bees a real Championship force.

Frank studied sports psychology and worked extensively at youth and development level - including a spell in charge of Denmark Under-19s - before making the step up to senior level when handed the manager's job at Brondby in 2013.

He twice guided them to top-four finishes in the Danish Superliga, securing Europa League qualification in the process, before departing to become Smith's assistant at Griffin Park.

He assumed the top job when Smith left for pastures new in October 2018. Frank lost eight of his first 10 games, but they quickly rebounded and have been among the best sides in the Championship all season.

Who are the key men?

Ollie Watkins

In their front three of Said Benrahma, Bryan Mbuemo and Ollie Watkins – collectively nicknamed BMW – Brentford have an attacking trio to rival any in the Championship.

They have had scintillating seasons, scoring 57 goals between them – with Wakins netting 25 – and adding 18 assists.

Behind them Emiliano Marcondes had a superb end to the campaign, and ended it with seven assists to his name.

The acquisition of Pontus Jansson from Leeds has provided a big boost to Brentford’s defensive ranks, while they also brought in Blackburn keeper David Raya last summer as replacement for Daniel Bentley, who moved to Bristol City.