‘Expresso’ joins us to analyse champion Benfica

Category: Team Analysis

We take a closer look at the keys to Benfica's title triumph, together with Portuguese newspaper Expresso.

Published:08/06/2023

Four years later, Benfica were crowned champions of the Portuguese league. They did so in a very tight finish, on the last matchday, after having a big points lead at the halfway point of the championship. After the departure of Jorge Jesus and Nelson Verissimo, Rui Costa opted for Roger Schmidt and the change was extraordinary. The German coach has already gained a wealth of experience in the Bundesliga, the Netherlands and Benfica, and has managed to put his stamp on all the teams he has coached.

In December, after the Champions League group stage and before the departure of Enzo Fernández to Chelsea, we published an analysis of a Benfica team that, on 20 December, was unbeaten in all competitions, including a double-header against PSG, making it the team with the highest and most intense pressure in Europe.

That momentum was slowed somewhat with the departure of the Argentinian but Schmidt was able to rebuild and continue to give weight to the power of his attackers. Alongside Gonçalo Ramos, Joao Mario and Rafa Silva, the figure of Alejandro Grimaldo became a cover midfielder from left-back. In our collaboration with the paper edition of the Portuguese newspaper ‘Expresso’, the former Benfica player, and new Bayer Leverkusen full-back, was present in the three most important connections in terms of key passes (passes that end in shots).

Among the main changes in performance, the dominance of the game through pressure and effectiveness in attack resulted in an extraordinary defensive level, doubling the clean sheets (22 clean sheets, compared to 11 in the previous season) and only 8.9% of the time was lost, compared to 27.5% in 2021-22. In the map below, successful recoveries and defensive actions taken after losing the ball. The team with the highest volume of both actions in the top seven European leagues.

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Autor: Driblab
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