With one side missing out on automatic promotion at the final few hurdles and another only sealing their top six berth on the final day of the regular season, Leeds United and Derby County are poised for a pulsating clash this weekend at Pride Park.
Add in the extra intrigue of a rematch in the Spygate saga, the pair's Championship play-off semi-final clash couldn't be more anticipated.
Marcelo Bielsa's side looked dead certs to seal the title at the turn of the year, but a collapse across the second half of their season means they will have to go through Wembley to fulfil their dream.
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But Frank Lampard's Rams will more than want to have their say in the matter, with the hosts determined to earn a measure of revenge following the protracted events that engulfed both clubs earlier in the campaign.
|Game||Derby County vs Leeds United|
|Date||Saturday, May 11|
|Time||5:15pm BST / 12:15pm EST|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game will not be broadcast, but can be streamed via ESPN+.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|N/A||iFollow / ESPN+|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be shown on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football and can be streamed through the Sky Go app.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Football||Sky Go|
Squads & Team News
|Position||Derby County squad|
|Defenders||Tomori, Keogh, Davies, Ambrose, Malone, Forsyth, Cole, Olsson, Boggle, Wisdom|
|Midfielders||Huddlestone, Evans, Johnson, Bryson, Holmes, Anya, Mount|
|Forwards||Lawrence, Wilson, Bennett, Waghorn, Nugent, Marriott, Jozefzoon|
Frank Lampard is without Martyn Waghorn although Duane Holmes starts after passing a late fitness test.
David Nugent leads the line for the Rams, with Chelsea loanne Mason Mount and Liverpool's Harry Wilson both starting.
Derby County Starting XI: Roos; Bogle, Keogh, Tomori, Malone; Johnson, Mount, Wilson; Holmes, Nugent, Lawrence.
Subs: Carson, Jozefzoon, Marriott, Evans, Bennett, Macdonald, Huddlestone.
|Position||Leeds United squad|
|Goalkeepers||Peacock-Farrell, Huffer, Casilla|
|Defenders||Jansson, Cooper, Berardi, Halme, Davis, Ayling|
|Midfielders||Phillips, Forshaw, Klich, Shackleton, Dallas|
|Forwards||Roofe, Clarke, Harrison, Hernandez, Brown|
Marcelo Bielsa confirmed that Tyler Roberts will not feature for the trip to Pride Park, while Pontus Jansson misses out with an ankle problem.
Patrick Bamford serves the final match of his ban for simulation so he doesn't play, leaving Kemar Roofe as the key man up front.
Leeds United starting XI: Casilla; Ayling, Berardi, Cooper, Dallas; Phillips, Klich, Forshaw; Hernandez, Roofe, Harrison.
Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Brown, Shackleton, Clarke, Struijk, Gotts, Bogusz.
Betting & Match Odds
Leeds are the marginal favourites to win at 6/4 with bet365. Derby can be backed at 11/5 while a draw is available for the same price.
It's been a season of mostly contrasting fortunes for Leeds United and Derby County - and yet, with 46 regular games in the can, they find themselves in the same position of the Championship play-off semi-finals.
United looked almost a dead cert for automatic promotion at Christmas while County were always on the cusp of missing out on a top-six race.
But on Saturday, they will both fight it out in the first leg of a tie that will see one reach Wembley and secure a shot at sealing a place in the Premier League.
Whites boss Marcelo Bielsa admited that he would be filled with pride to deliver promotion to the club earlier this week, stating in his pre-match presser: "Of course it would be an achievement. I would feel very proud. It's very important for me and I would feel very proud.
The Argentine noted he was under no illusions of the magnitude of the challenge ahead either, stating: "The results of Derby County and their style of play speak about Frank Lampard. He has good players, he put them in the same team and he made this team play well.
"Each game is a new story," he added, in reference to the pair's previous encounters, which saw Leeds triumph. "For those who've won the last games, the previous one and for those who lost it."
The spectre of this season's Spygate saga, which saw Bielsa sanction covert observation of County's training practices, still hangs over both clubs, giving their latest encounter an extra flavour.
However, Rams manager Lampard has been keen to draw attention away from those events, stating earlier this week: "I don't care about the history. I don't care about the talk of spies.
"I actually care about the fact they beat us well over two games and have been a really strong team this season.
"I'll block all of that out and might have to fend off a few questions about it, but the important thing is focusing on Leeds as a team and trying to get a result."