Benfica announced, this Friday, the renewal of Roger Schmidt’s contract until 2026. In nine months, the German changed Benfica: from tactics, to the relationship with the players and the speech.
Nothing is won yet, but Roger Schmidt has already won over Benfica fans. In little more than nine months, the German coach transformed the Reds. Clube da Luz came from a gray period, with the return of Jorge Jesus, not always consensual among the supporters, who completely failed to meet expectations, and with Nélson Veríssimo, a remedy solution that proved to be short-lived.
In May, Benfica announced the hiring of Roger Schmidt, a coach who, being a foreigner, caused some distrust to be felt, but which quickly turned into enthusiasm. The 28 games in a row without losing, the victory against FC Porto at Estádio do Dragão and the lead in a Champions League group with Juventus and PSG, were proof that the German completely changed the paradigm that Benfica lived in recent years.
Inside the field, you can see a fearless team, which plays eye to eye against any opponent. Benfica pressed very high on the ground to win the ball close to the opposing area and be closer to the goal. Roger Schmidt has put together a dynamic team, with a highly mobile attack that knows how to dismantle any type of rival. Defensively, cohesion is far superior to that seen, especially, with Jorge Jesus.
In this sector, Schmidt was not afraid to bet on António Silva when necessary and the young man exceeded expectations: the good performances took him to the 2022 World Cup in his debut year in the main team of the reds. Grimaldo was another of the great beneficiaries of the German’s idea, gaining consistency little seen in other years and increasing, even more, the influence in the eagles.
Gonçalo Ramos and João Mário are having the best season of their careers, being the third most effective duo against goal in the main European leagues. Still in attack, Rafa, Neres and, more recently, Gonçalo Guedes, have all been protagonists of an overwhelming Benfica offensively and that has already conceded 112 goals in all competitions.
In the midfield, Enzo Fernández was, for half a season, one of the stars of the team, and not even when he left in January did the red machine stop. Schmidt gave Chiquinho a new life and the Portuguese has risen to the challenge. Florentino, returned from loan to Getafe and Monaco, once again showed all the quality seen in 2018/19 with Bruno Lage and became an essential player in the defensive moment.
Roger Schmidt still hasn’t won anything at Benfica, but the way he revolutionized a team that played gray football and was away from titles has already won over the red fans. With the renewal until 2026, Rui Costa guarantees that Roger Schmidt will be Benfica’s leader on the field for almost the entire term (lasts until 2025). Unless a shark comes for you.