Football

05 September 2022, 15h45

Roger Schmidt

PREVIEW

Coach Roger Schmidt previewed, in a press conference, the game from matchday 1 of the Champions League group H between Benfica and Maccabi Haifa, scheduled for 8 pm on Tuesday, September 6, at Estádio da Luz.

Benfica will face Maccabi Haifa for the first time. What do you know about this opponent?

If you look at their record, they became champions of Israel last season and won against the champions of Greece, Cyprus, and Serbia. They have already shown they are a team full of qualities, especially in the attack. They have very dangerous players, good finishers, very physical, and, therefore, deserve to play in the Champions League. Last season, I played against an Israeli team, and I know that they play with a lot of f emotion and determination in European competitions. Tomorrow [Tuesday] we must be well-prepared.

Roger Schmidt  

Do you feel that it is essential for Benfica to win the two games against Maccabi Haifa, given that you have PSG and Juventus as opponents in the group?

I don't see it like that, honestly. All the teams deserve to be in the Champions League, they are top teams, and we must pay attention to every game. This is the best club competition in the world, and we must go step by step. There are only six games in this group stage, a difficult stage. There are two teams that will not advance to the next stage. Our group is difficult, and, for us, it will be smart to think about tomorrow's [Tuesday's] match and not look ahead. We must have a very positive performance to win and come out with the three points.

Roger Schmidt 

"All the teams deserve to be in the Champions League, they are top teams and we must pay attention to every game"

Roger Schmidt 

Last season, Benfica reach the quarterfinals. Do you think you can, at least, achieve the same goal, given the team you have at your disposal?

Reaching the quarterfinals is an excellent performance. They did well last season. For us, the most important thing is not to think about it, but rather, game by game. Our first step is tomorrow's match [Tuesday] and we have to win it. Of course, our goal is to get to the knockout stage, because there are four teams in the group, and two teams advance. We want to be one of those two teams, but it is not time to talk about final goals.

Roger Schmidt 

You said in an interview with "Kicker" that Draxler is an important player. Do you think he is ready to make his debut against Maccabi Haifa?

Draxler is a top player. He is not at his best level, nor could he be, because he has been weeks without training with the PSG team. When this is the case, it is difficult to reach the ideal physical and football condition. He is now at Benfica, and he is fine, but he needs a few weeks to understand his teammates and regain confidence. He is a seasoned player, a national team player. He is part of the squad and is ready to play. Not in the starting XI, but a few minutes.

Roger Schmidt 

"Our first step is tomorrow's match [Tuesday] and we have to win it. Of course, our goal is to get to the knockout stage"

Text: Marco Rebelo and Rafaela Certã Alves
Photos: Cátia Luís / SL Benfica
Last update: Monday, September 5, 2022

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