Championship play-offs 2019: Fixtures, dates & teams in the race to the Premier League

Getty / Goal composite
A number of sides are in the mix for a place in this season's play-offs and the race is beginning to intensify as we enter the final stage

The Championship play-offs are among the most keenly contested and rewarding games in the English football calendar.

A place in the Premier League, with its subsequent financial benefits and accompanying prestige, is the prize on offer, but only one team stands to benefit.

This season, the likes of Leeds United, Sheffield United and Norwich City are in the running for automatic promotion, but further down, teams such as Derby County, Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest and West Brom are in the hunt for a place in the play-offs.

With the race beginning to heat up, Goal brings you everything you need to know about the 2019 Championship play-offs.

What are the Championship play-offs?

While the top two teams in the Championship secure automatic promotion to the Premier League, the final place is determined by a series of games known as play-offs.

The teams which finish the season in third, fourth, fifth and sixth place earn the right to compete for a place in England's top division.

Third place plays sixth place in one semi-final and fourth place plays fifth place in the other semi-final.

The semi-finals are played over two legs, with home and away ties, and the away goals rule does not apply.

Winners of the semi-finals then progress to the play-off final, which is a winner-takes-all tie.

When are the Championship 2019 play-offs?

The dates for the 2019 Championship play-off semi-finals have yet to be finalised, but games will take place after May 5, when the league concludes.

Last season, semi-final games were played less than a week after the conclusion of the league phase and we can expect a similar approach for the 2018-19 season.

Which teams have qualified for the Championship play-offs?

Frank Lampard Derby

We do not know which teams have qualified for the Championship play-offs yet, but a clearer picture is beginning to emerge as the competition heads into the final stage of the season.

Norwich City lead the way in the race for automatic promotion, followed closely by Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds and Chris Wilder's Sheffield United. After that there is a slight gap in terms of points, though it could easily change during the run-in

Some of the teams who are in the mix for the play-off spots include West Brom, Middlesbrough and Frank Lampard's Derby County.

Two-time European champions Nottingham Forest - now under the guidance of Martin O'Neill - are also fighting for a return to the Premier League, as they bid to end a two-decades-long absence, while Bristol City are also challenging.

Aston Villa are on the periphery, but have been buoyed by their recent Second City derby victory over rivals Birmingham City, who also have an outside chance of reaching the play-offs.

Preston North End, who were founder members of the Football League and won the first two editions of the old First Division, are also in the running, as are Nigel Adkins' Hull City.

Championship table

Pos Team MP W D L GD Pts
1 Norwich 38 23 9 6 +29 78
2 Sheffield United 38 22 8 8 +30 74
3 Sheffield United 38 22 7 9 +24 73
4 West Brom 38 19 10 9 +24 67
5 Middlesbrough 36 15 13 9 +9 58
6 Aston Villa 38 14 15 11 +14 57
7 Preston North End 38 15 12 11 +8 57
8 Derby County 37 13 11 11 +2 56

Last updated: March 16, 2019.

When & where is the 2019 Championship play-off final?

Wembley Stadium 2018

The 2019 Championship play-off final is scheduled to take place on Monday, May 27 and, as is tradition, Wembley Stadium in London will be the venue for the decider.

Wembley's capacity is 90,000 and Championship play-off deciders regularly draw in bumper crowds, with the 2018 final between Aston Villa and Fulham attracting 85,243 spectators.

The 'Home of Football' has not always been the venue for play-off deciders, however, with Cardiff's Millennium Stadium temporarily housing such games from 2001 until 2006.

Who won last year's Championship play-offs?

Ryan Sessegnon Fulham Championship play-offs 2018

Fulham were the winners of the 2018 edition of the Championship play-offs as they defeated Aston Villa 1-0 in the final.

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Club captain Tom Cairney scored the decisive goal for the Cottagers, who played the final part of the game with 10 men after Denis Odoi was sent off.

Fulham had finished third in the table, meaning they faced sixth-place Derby County in the play-off semi-finals and they overcame the Rams with a 2-1 aggregate victory.

They subsequently joined Championship winners Wolves and runners-up Cardiff City in booking their place in the 2018-19 Premier League.