No Goal Is Out of Reach : Benfica Manager Schmidt Optimistic About Champions League Success

    Benfica may no longer be considered a European heavyweight, but that won’t stop Roger Schmidt from dreaming of an unlikely success in the Champions League.

    The Benfica coach said “nothing is impossible” when asked about the Primeira side’s hopes of participating in UEFA’s top club competition this season.

    Schmidt’s men take on Club Brugge in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday, leading 2-0 from the first meeting in Belgium.

    Benfica’s first priority will be to reach the quarter-finals in their second successive campaign, the last time they did so between 1967 and 1969 in the European Cup.

    “I think all the teams in the playoffs can win the Champions League, but with different probabilities,” Schmidt said at a pre-match press conference on Monday.

    “Teams with the smallest budget always have a small chance. Big teams have more chances. But in fact, of course, it is possible.

    Benfica have won the famous European trophy twice in their history when they became champions in 1961 and successfully defended the title the following year.

    However, no Portuguese team has won the Champions League since José Mourinho’s Porto in the 2003–04 campaign.

    Looking at unlikely continental glory, Schmidt says the first challenge will be securing a “big hit” in the last eight.

    He added: “There is nothing impossible in football of this level, but at the moment we are very focused on reaching the quarter-finals, which would already be a great achievement for a club like Benfica.

    “So we have to do it. It’s not done, as I said. So step by step and tomorrow we will try to bring it to the end.

    Aside from a two-goal lead, foreshadowing the second leg of the last 16 matches in favor of Benfica, given that they have never lost in their previous 10 home matches against Belgian teams in all competitions (W8 D2), having won each of the last six in a row.

    A win in Portugal would also mark Benfica’s fourth successive Champions League success, having last won Europe’s premier club competition in succession in 1989–90 (six).

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