This year, more than most, there's the feeling that the Championship promotion play-off game is the most important match of the season, in any competition.

Sure there’s the usual spiel about it being the richest game is football with the estimated £180 million that promotion to the Premier League brings, but given everything that’s gone before this year, there’s the sense that 'This Means More’, to steal a phrase from one the European Super League ring-leaders.

This season has seen not just the idea of the closed shop European Super League floated but also Project Big Picture, which among other things, aimed to cut the Premier League from 20 to 18 clubs and would have would have cut the automatic relegation places from two to three, making life harder for ambitious Championship clubs like today's two finalists.

It’s fitting therefore that the two clubs battling for a place in the Premier League are Brentford and Swansea, teams that between have a grand total of one Second Division winners trophy (Brentford 1935), one League 2 title (Brentford 2009), two old Division 3 wins (1933 and 1992) and one League Cup win (Swansea 2013).

This is about as far away from a clash between giant petro-state backed clubs as you could get.

Of the two teams, Brentford are the favourites going into the game thanks to their strong end to the season, where they lost just one of their last ten games, making a late push for automatic promotion.

They missed out on second place, finishing behind Watford, and had to come through their play-off semi-final with Bournemouth the hard way.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg and then losing 1-0 on the night the Bees rallied and came back to win the tie 3-2 with manager Thomas Frank’s pre-match screening of Liverpool’s 2019 Champions League comeback against Barcelona obviously having the desired effect.

However, if they’re to end their 74-year wait for a return to the top flight, Brentford are going to have to banish all thoughts of last year’s final from their minds.

Like this season, Brentford went into the play-offs as the highest placed team, having just missed out on automatic promotion. Facing Scott Parker’s Fulham at Wembley, they had their chances but after a scoreless draw in 90 minutes, they were undone by two Joe Bryan goals in extra-time and lost 2-1.

Brentford had to dig deep in the semi-final

Frank believes that defeat and their reaction to it will stand to them this time around.

"The experience of being there last year will help us," he insisted. "We will be unbelievably well prepared. We'll give everything and pray and hope.

"I think we will go into it with good belief and calm. It was tough that we didn't win last year, but we actually found out that, the next day, the sun rose again and life goes on, so that's a part of it. Of course we'll give it a massive go."

Swansea meanwhile are hoping to return to the Premier League after a three-year absence.

Memories of their swash-buckling, no fear style of play under Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup are still fresh in the mind, along with a European campaign that included a 3-0 victory over Valencia at the Mestalla.

The practicalities of surviving in the Premier League led to a more pragmatic approach over time and a string of panicked and rushed managerial appointments, including the likes of Francesco Guidolin and Bob Bradley, saw them spiral downwards before eventual relegation in 2018.

The Welsh side have regrouped and rebuilt since then.

Under manager Steve Cooper, Swansea are again playing the kind of attractive, possession-based football that won them so many fans last time they made it to the Premier League.

A dip in form in March and early April ended their hopes of claiming an automatic promotion spot but they rallied towards the end of the season to finish in fourth place.

Brentford are again the team in their way of promotion, having got the better of the Swans in last season’s play-off semi-final, with the Bees winning 3-2 on aggregate.

Games between the two sides have been tight this season with two 1-1 draws in the league but Cooper does not expect those results to have much bearing on the final.

"I don’t think those games matter, this is different," the Swansea manager said. "Whatever’s gone on in the past I don’t really think has an effect on this one.

"They are an excellent team with a lot of really good players. But we’ll think about how we approach it and how we win the game, what we bring to the table must come first."

Conor Hourihane has been here before

Cooper will be able to call on the play-off experience of Republic of Ireland international Conor Hourihane who has spent the season on loan with Swansea from Aston Villa.

Hourihane has twice been on the winning side of a Wembley promotion play-off, with Barnsley and Aston Villa, and once on the losing side with Villa, so he knows what it takes to get over the line.

"Play-off games are tense affairs, fantastic occasions when they go for you but hugely, hugely disappointing when they don't go for you," the 30-year-old said. "They are amazing games to play in. When they go for you, there's no feeling like it.

"I know what’s it like getting promoted to the Premier League, and I know what it’s like coming down that final stretch and I loved it. You’re a footballer, this is what you want, to be fighting to achieve things at the business end of the season."

Hourihane is almost certain to start in a midfield three for Swansea, alongside Jay Fulton and Matt Grimes in what could be his final game for the club.

As things stand, the Corkman is likely to return back to Villa Park after the play-off final as he has one year to complete on his contact with Villa, but he’s still holding out hope that promotion with Swansea could convince the Welsh side to keep him.

"That's one goal I'd like to hit before retiring, playing back in the Premier League," he said.

"I probably won't have too many chances to try to achieve that. Hopefully that can be with Swansea, if we're successful."