Benfica: is there little doubt for Schmidt for the first painful test?

This Tuesday, the wait for the red fans is over: Benfica officially debuts in the 2022/23 season, against Midtjylland.

The first leg of the third qualifying round of the Champions League is of high demand, and it is also the first trial by fire for Roger Schmidt, the new helmsman of Luz.

The German coach, by the way, is a man of fixed ideas and this pre-season proved that. From the outset, with the choice of players that was made, and that does not leave so much room for doubt as to the starting eleven that will enter the field this Tuesday, from 20:00.


Beacon, the biggest question?

Curiously, the goal is the position that raises the most question marks: Helton Leite was the most frequent starter, but Vlachodimos arrived later, there was still time to add more minutes – 225 against 180 for the Brazilian – and he did it against bigger opponents. worth: Fulham and Newcastle.


Vlachodimos: starter three times, 225 minutes – arrived later, but started against more valuable opponents and had more playing time.

Helton Leite: three-time starter, 180 minutes

Samuel Soares: did not start, 45 minutes

south american defense

In defense, there will be few doubts: Otamendi arrived later, but as soon as he landed in Luz, he took a stake alongside Morato. On the right, despite the good performance of the reinforcement Bah, Gilberto seems to have an advantage – he was always a starter –, as well as on the left. Grimaldo was Schmidt’s favorite choice – the Spaniard deserved praise from the coach after the game with Newcastle –, not least because Ristic, the new face for this year, was injured for a long time.


Gilberto: starter five times, 254 minutes

Alexander Bah: did not start, 196 minutes

André Almeida: did not start, 45 minutes in which he played as central defender

Otamendi: starter four times, 225 minutes

Morato: starter five times, 270 minutes

Antonio Silva: holder once, 180 minutes

Vertonghen: did not start, 135 minutes

Grimaldo: starter five times, 270 minutes

Mihailo Ristic: did not start, 45 minutes – injured at the start of the season and has not yet returned

Gil Dias: did not start, 180 minutes

Enzo and Florentino complemented each other, João Mário regained preponderance

Also in midfield, Roger Schmidt seems to have well-defined choices for this start: Weigl lost space to the returned Florentino, the Portuguese who made a good pair with Enzo Fernández, perhaps the best reinforcement of the eagles this season.

The space in front of this duo should be occupied by two Portuguese and one Brazilian: João Mário regained the preponderance he had lost in the final stretch of 2021/22, until he occupied unusual spaces, on the left of the attack. Rafa seems to be getting back to his best form and has also always been a starter, as well as David Neres, who has already shown what he can do with an eagle on his chest.


Florentino Luís: starter five times, 270 minutes

Julian Weigl: starter once, 166 minutes

Soualiho Meité: did not start, 135 minutes

Enzo Fernández: starter four times, 194 minutes – arrived with pre-season in progress and soon took a stake in Roger Schmidt’s team

Paulo Bernardo: did not start, 102 minutes

Martim Neto: did not start, 45 minutes

João Mário: starter five times, 255 minutes

Chiquinho: did not start, 199 minutes

Diogo Gonçalves: did not start, 12 minutes

Gonçalo Ramos, the reference

The reference of the attack, barring some last-minute surprise, should be Gonçalo Ramos: Henrique Araújo was even a starter in the first pre-season test, against Reading, but then the place in the starting eleven always belonged to the 21-year-old player. Yaremchuk arrived later, showed quality, but, at least at this stage, seems to leave as a second option.

This, for now, seems to be the first version of Benfica designed by Roger Schmidt. The pre-season indications were very positive, but now it’s necessary to prove it in the painful games. The Midtjylland is the new test for the new eagle.


David Neres: five-time starter, 239 minutes

Rafa: starter five times, 255 minutes

Diego Moreira: did not start, 183 minutes

Henrique Araújo: starter once, 138 minutes

Roman Yaremchuk: did not start, 166 minutes

Petar Musa: did not start, 12 minutes – was injured part of pre-season

Gonçalo Ramos: starter four times, 194 minutes

Rodrigo Pinho: did not start, 12 minutes

Vlachodimos, Gilberto, Otamendi, Morato, Grimaldo, Florentino, Enzo Fernández, Neres, Rafa, João Mário and Gonçalo Ramos: this should be the starting eleven for the game against Midtjylland, the same that faced Newcastle in the Eusébio Cup

Note: the friendly against Amora does not count for this statistic, as the match sheet was not made available.

Note II: Lucas Veríssimo and João Victor, injured, didn’t add any minutes in this pre-season, as well as Taarabt and Gabriel, at the starting door.