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The Championship playoff Final: Get ready for the richest game in sports

Derby County beat Leeds United 4-2 at Elland Road in a sensational match to reach the playoff final at Wembley where they'll meet Aston Villa.
Aston Villa will get another crack at the Championship play-offs final after last year's disappointment thanks to a win over West Brom on penalties.

It is the most lucrative one-off fixture in the sporting world, with the financial windfall for the winning team a staggering £170 million -- three times more than the combined value of winning the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup. The monetary jackpot vastly overshadows that which comes with winning the Super Bowl ($6.25m), NBA Finals ($3.3m) or World Series ($30.4m), but the flip side of the EFL Championship playoff is that the losers not only end up with nothing, they also see...

Championship playoff semifinal second legs: predictions and key battles

Derby County had a penalty decision overturned in their 1-0 defeat to Leeds in a feisty Championship first leg playoff at Pride Park.
Aston Villa recovered from a goal down to beat West Brom and take a one-goal lead into Tuesday's Championship playoff second leg.

Ninety minutes separate four Championship clubs from a playoff final at Wembley Stadium to battle for promotion to the Premier League and all the riches that come along with it. Here you'll find everything you need to know as Aston Villa seek to finish the job of knocking out West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns, and Leeds United attempt to hold on to the narrowest of first-leg leads over Derby County as they meet at what will surely be a raucous Elland Road.


Leeds United vs. Derby County

FIRST-LEG...

Championship playoffs: Predictions, key battles, stars to watch

Frank Lampard's Derby County secured a playoff semifinal against Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United with a 2-1 win over West Brom, pipping Middlesbrough to sixth place.
Norwich lifted the Championship trophy following their victory at Aston Villa, a week after mathematically clinching promotion against Blackburn.
Craig Burley, Steve Nicol and Julien Laurens all agree Leeds United were right to play on when they scored while an Aston Villa player was down.
Players and staff of Sheffield United celebrated clinching automatic promotion to the Premier League after Leeds United's draw with Aston Villa sealed their spot.

Despite missing out on an automatic promotion spot, a place in the Premier League remains tantalisingly close for four Championship clubs via the playoffs.

But only two teams can advance to the final, dubbed "the richest game in football," at Wembley on May 27 (live on ESPN+). (Oh, and unlike the Champions League, away goals don't matter here.) Will it be playoff heartbreak yet again for fallen giants Leeds when they face Derby? Who will win the Midlands battle between former European champions...

Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce being pelted with cabbage 'sums up society'

Aston Villa's underwhelming start to the season continued with a 3-3 draw against Preston on Tuesday night.

Indeed, Villa were minutes away from an embarrassing home defeat until Yannick Bolasie spared their blushes with a 91st-minute equaliser -- and that was before Glenn Whelan spurned the chance to seize all three points by missing a 97th-minute penalty, with boos ringing around the stadium at full time.

However, the Villa protests actually began before the match, with one particularly irate fan...

Transfer Rater: Jack Grealish to Tottenham, Tiemoue Bakayoko to AC Milan

Rumours
The latest transfer rumours from around the world.

Things change in the blink of an eye in football. The Football Whispers Index takes the latest transfer rumours and gives them a score out of five; the higher the score, the more realistic and reliable the Whisper.

Here are today's top five emerging whispers. And keep an eye on Transfer Talk for all the latest gossip.

Jack Grealish to Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham may finally make their first signing of the summer after making a £25m bid for Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish, according...

Why the Championship play-off final is the richest game in soccer

Can there be anything in football more magnificent than the goal from an overhead kick?

When Gareth Bale scored exactly that goal on Saturday in a Champions League final, the acme of elite-club-football competition, it was literally breath-taking. The stage, the spectacle made it possibly the greatest goal ever scored.

But for all the beauty of that goal and how it will undoubtedly be admired throughout the ages, it wasn't even the most important scored that day. That accolade rests with Tom...