THE BALL – The numbers of a campaign that makes you dream of the final (Benfica)

Rewrite this content

Now this is a time to rock! In the Champions League, at least. And it’s statistics that prove it, providing unprecedented numbers in Benfica’s European history. And that already offer Roger Schmidt a place of high prominence among all the coaches who passed through the technical command of the club in this 21st century.

The day before yesterday’s victory over Club Brugge was Benfica’s fourth consecutive victory in this edition of the Champions League. Never before have the reds achieved such a cycle in the current format of the Champions League. And it is necessary to go back more than 30 years, still in the former European Champion Clubs’ Cup (TCCE), to find an identical cycle.

We are talking about Eriksson’s European campaign in 1989/1990, the year in which Benfica reached the final, losing to Milan. On that journey in the TCCE 33 years ago, the reds won six consecutive victories (two against Derry City in the 1st round; two against Budapest Honved in the 2nd round and two against Dnipro in the quarterfinals, losing afterwards with Marseille in the first leg of the semi-finals).

This was Benfica’s most successful European campaign ever before the game the day before yesterday, but with the triumph at Luz Roger Schmidt (who for the first time in his coaching career reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League) became the first Benfica coach to achieve ten European triumphs in the same season, and all in the Champions League. And he was the first at Luz to reach this stage of the Champions League without having suffered any defeat along the way. Impressive.

Also noteworthy is Benfica’s offensive capacity in this edition of the Champions League. Counting the qualifying phase with the group stage/elimination phase, the reds totaled 35 goals in 12 matches (average of 2.9 goals/game), which makes this the European campaign with the most goals in the history of the club. , surpassing that of Jorge Jesus in 2009/2010 (29 goals in 14 games, average of 2.07 goals/game).

In addition to being Benfica’s highest-scoring European campaign ever, this is also the third best ever by a Portuguese team, second only to Sporting’s campaign in 1963/64 (the season in which it won the Cup Winners’ Cup , scoring a total of 36 goals in 12 games) and that of FC Porto in 2010/2011 (when it won the Europa League, scoring 44 goals in 17 games). In other words, in terms of goals, this European campaign for Benfica is already worthy of aiming for a final. It will be?