Benfica will look to reach the Champions League play-offs when they host Midtjylland on Tuesday in the first leg of their third qualifying round showdown (8pm kick-off, UK time).
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The Estadio da Luz is primed and ready for the visit of Midtjylland next week, with Roger Schmidt looking to guide his new side to the groups of Europe’s flagship competition. Temporary Midtjylland boss Henrik Jensen will be aiming to build on the club’s second-round win over AEK Larnaca when they travel to Lisbon.
Benfica team news
Having moved across from PSV Eindhoven, new Benfica manager Schmidt has been extremely busy this summer as he looks to make a strong start to his tenure in the Portuguese capital. With the club having accrued a fair whack from Liverpool for Darwin Nunez, the Dutchman has dispersed that wealth to reboot his squad, signing no fewer than six new players.
The likes of Petar Musa, Mihailo Ristic and Alexander Bah have been signed from Boavista, Montpellier and Slavia Prague respectively and all represent interesting reinforcements for Schmidt, but fans will be itching to see David Neres and Enzo Fernandez in action next week. The former was part of Erik ten Hag’s famed 2018/19 Ajax side that reached the Champions League semi-final, while the latter is highly-regarded in Argentina.
The 21-year-old joined from River Plate with a burgeoning reputation as a future Argentina star — and he will be looking to make good on that hype in Lisbon. Tipped to one day play for Real Madrid by the chairman of Defensa y Justicia, whom he enjoyed a fruitful loan spell with in 2020 under Hernan Crespo and famously won the Copa Sudamericana, Fernandez is expected to light up the Estadio da Luz.
“When we brought him to Defensa we told him he was a player for Real Madrid,” Defensa president Diego Lemme told Como te va.
“I hope he can make it to Europe, he has more than enough talent.”
River Plate also lost another superstar this summer in Julian Alvarez, who concluded his loan spell to move permanently to Manchester City, and he recently hit headlines by scoring in the club’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool in the Community Shield. Fernandez will be hoping to have a similar impact next week.
Scoreline prediction: Benfica 1-0 Midtjylland
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