1 October 2014 06:58
Jorge Jesus has underlined the importance of Benfica’s UEFA Champions League clash with Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday.
Both teams lost on matchday one, with Portuguese champions Benfica defeated 2-0 at home by Zenit St Petersburg, while Bundesliga side Leverkusen succumbed 1-0 to Monaco.
A second defeat for either side in Leverkusen would be a huge setback in their bids to advance from Group C and it is something Benfica can avoid, according to Jesus, who guided his team to the UEFA Europa League final last term.
“These are two teams that came in the first round with a loss, so for both us the victory is very important,” Jesus told reporters.
“I know we’ll play against a team from one of the strongest leagues in Europe. A team that we’ve had the opportunity to play two years ago in the Europa League and we won 1-0.
“If this team is stronger or weaker, what I can say is that of the 11 players of that time, they still have six or seven. They have a new coach, therefore, have different ideas and are having a good championship.
“At this point, with the last round of the Bundesliga, they passed to third place, and have been in second. This means that it is a strong team, but we believe we have the ability to make a good game and we know that we can only get the three points if we make a match of high level.”
Jesus added: “We know that is a strong, balanced and very competitive group. And so, any team has a chance of qualifying. Because [of] that, we believe in this goal.
“[The] Champions League is a competition that the winners are usually four or five teams and the others, who manage to pass the group stage and reach the quarterfinals, are very good.”