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Interview

Roger's refresh

A rejuvenated Benfica have one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals and sit atop the Primeira Liga. Coach Roger Schmidt, newly installed this season, reveals his secrets

You’ve worked as a coach in Germany, Austria, China and the Netherlands. Why did you choose Benfica?

I really like learning about new countries and new football cultures. I feel very happy when I get the chance to keep developing and seethings from another perspective. When I think about football, Benfica is among the biggest clubs, with lots of tradition, passion and loving supporters. After talking to the officials and Rui Costa, I felt that this job was exactly what I was looking for. I think I fit the club well: I match their ambition because they want to change things.

When did your philosophy take shape and who influenced it?

It began developing when I was a player. When you play and love football, you develop certain preferences. As an attacker, I loved getting forward. I was driven to win and that was the foundation when I became a manager. I thought about how I wanted to play and I was influenced by other managers. I started without a great deal of knowledge; I managed a team and tried to find my way. It was good to start as an amateur and try things out – my footballing standard increased as I rose through the ranks. I used this experience to get a clear idea of how I’d like to play. I took a lot from that and when I encountered Ralf Rangnick and Helmut Gross at Salzburg, I developed this extremely intensive style over time.  

Roger Schmidt watches on during Benfica’s round of 16 first leg win over Club Brugge (top); Congratulating his players after a point gained at the Parc des Princes in the group stage (above)

What are the cornerstones of your philosophy?

When talking about football or tactics, the easiest thing is to divide the game into ball possession. Talking about Benfica, we have the ball for most of the game and therefore we need clear solutions. It’s important to be active when you have the ball; a rhythm needs to develop. If you want to score, naturally the probability is higher when not all 11 opposition players are in position. You can also lose the ball at any time and you need a clear idea of what to do then too. You need clear organisation to win the ball back as quickly as possible. Of course, when the opposition have possession, our idea is to keep them away from goal and catch them while they are building play – winning balls and also ensuring that they’re no longer organised. Switching on after winning the ball is a great chance for us to score and be threatening. That is a key feature that you can see in our game.

What will you never compromise on?

Compromises are part of the job. When you start a new coaching job and you think of your idea of football, you then try to get a sense of the country’s culture, the club and the players’ strengths. That’s very important to me because it’s more about improving the players. Apart from that, I don’t think I’m too strict in my approach. At the end of the day, the most important thing is Benfica’s success. It’s not about me, so I’m always willing to make adjustments.

You’ve worked as a coach in Germany, Austria, China and the Netherlands. Why did you choose Benfica?

I really like learning about new countries and new football cultures. I feel very happy when I get the chance to keep developing and seethings from another perspective. When I think about football, Benfica is among the biggest clubs, with lots of tradition, passion and loving supporters. After talking to the officials and Rui Costa, I felt that this job was exactly what I was looking for. I think I fit the club well: I match their ambition because they want to change things.

When did your philosophy take shape and who influenced it?

It began developing when I was a player. When you play and love football, you develop certain preferences. As an attacker, I loved getting forward. I was driven to win and that was the foundation when I became a manager. I thought about how I wanted to play and I was influenced by other managers. I started without a great deal of knowledge; I managed a team and tried to find my way. It was good to start as an amateur and try things out – my footballing standard increased as I rose through the ranks. I used this experience to get a clear idea of how I’d like to play. I took a lot from that and when I encountered Ralf Rangnick and Helmut Gross at Salzburg, I developed this extremely intensive style over time.  

Roger Schmidt watches on during Benfica’s round of 16 first leg win over Club Brugge (top); Congratulating his players after a point gained at the Parc des Princes in the group stage (above)

What are the cornerstones of your philosophy?

When talking about football or tactics, the easiest thing is to divide the game into ball possession. Talking about Benfica, we have the ball for most of the game and therefore we need clear solutions. It’s important to be active when you have the ball; a rhythm needs to develop. If you want to score, naturally the probability is higher when not all 11 opposition players are in position. You can also lose the ball at any time and you need a clear idea of what to do then too. You need clear organisation to win the ball back as quickly as possible. Of course, when the opposition have possession, our idea is to keep them away from goal and catch them while they are building play – winning balls and also ensuring that they’re no longer organised. Switching on after winning the ball is a great chance for us to score and be threatening. That is a key feature that you can see in our game.

What will you never compromise on?

Compromises are part of the job. When you start a new coaching job and you think of your idea of football, you then try to get a sense of the country’s culture, the club and the players’ strengths. That’s very important to me because it’s more about improving the players. Apart from that, I don’t think I’m too strict in my approach. At the end of the day, the most important thing is Benfica’s success. It’s not about me, so I’m always willing to make adjustments.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

You’ve worked as a coach in Germany, Austria, China and the Netherlands. Why did you choose Benfica?

I really like learning about new countries and new football cultures. I feel very happy when I get the chance to keep developing and seethings from another perspective. When I think about football, Benfica is among the biggest clubs, with lots of tradition, passion and loving supporters. After talking to the officials and Rui Costa, I felt that this job was exactly what I was looking for. I think I fit the club well: I match their ambition because they want to change things.

When did your philosophy take shape and who influenced it?

It began developing when I was a player. When you play and love football, you develop certain preferences. As an attacker, I loved getting forward. I was driven to win and that was the foundation when I became a manager. I thought about how I wanted to play and I was influenced by other managers. I started without a great deal of knowledge; I managed a team and tried to find my way. It was good to start as an amateur and try things out – my footballing standard increased as I rose through the ranks. I used this experience to get a clear idea of how I’d like to play. I took a lot from that and when I encountered Ralf Rangnick and Helmut Gross at Salzburg, I developed this extremely intensive style over time.  

Roger Schmidt watches on during Benfica’s round of 16 first leg win over Club Brugge (top); Congratulating his players after a point gained at the Parc des Princes in the group stage (above)

What are the cornerstones of your philosophy?

When talking about football or tactics, the easiest thing is to divide the game into ball possession. Talking about Benfica, we have the ball for most of the game and therefore we need clear solutions. It’s important to be active when you have the ball; a rhythm needs to develop. If you want to score, naturally the probability is higher when not all 11 opposition players are in position. You can also lose the ball at any time and you need a clear idea of what to do then too. You need clear organisation to win the ball back as quickly as possible. Of course, when the opposition have possession, our idea is to keep them away from goal and catch them while they are building play – winning balls and also ensuring that they’re no longer organised. Switching on after winning the ball is a great chance for us to score and be threatening. That is a key feature that you can see in our game.

What will you never compromise on?

Compromises are part of the job. When you start a new coaching job and you think of your idea of football, you then try to get a sense of the country’s culture, the club and the players’ strengths. That’s very important to me because it’s more about improving the players. Apart from that, I don’t think I’m too strict in my approach. At the end of the day, the most important thing is Benfica’s success. It’s not about me, so I’m always willing to make adjustments.

Roger's refresh
Interview

Roger's refresh

A rejuvenated Benfica have one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals and sit atop the Primeira Liga. Coach Roger Schmidt, newly installed this season, reveals his secrets

You’ve worked as a coach in Germany, Austria, China and the Netherlands. Why did you choose Benfica?

I really like learning about new countries and new football cultures. I feel very happy when I get the chance to keep developing and seethings from another perspective. When I think about football, Benfica is among the biggest clubs, with lots of tradition, passion and loving supporters. After talking to the officials and Rui Costa, I felt that this job was exactly what I was looking for. I think I fit the club well: I match their ambition because they want to change things.

When did your philosophy take shape and who influenced it?

It began developing when I was a player. When you play and love football, you develop certain preferences. As an attacker, I loved getting forward. I was driven to win and that was the foundation when I became a manager. I thought about how I wanted to play and I was influenced by other managers. I started without a great deal of knowledge; I managed a team and tried to find my way. It was good to start as an amateur and try things out – my footballing standard increased as I rose through the ranks. I used this experience to get a clear idea of how I’d like to play. I took a lot from that and when I encountered Ralf Rangnick and Helmut Gross at Salzburg, I developed this extremely intensive style over time.  

Roger Schmidt watches on during Benfica’s round of 16 first leg win over Club Brugge (top); Congratulating his players after a point gained at the Parc des Princes in the group stage (above)

What are the cornerstones of your philosophy?

When talking about football or tactics, the easiest thing is to divide the game into ball possession. Talking about Benfica, we have the ball for most of the game and therefore we need clear solutions. It’s important to be active when you have the ball; a rhythm needs to develop. If you want to score, naturally the probability is higher when not all 11 opposition players are in position. You can also lose the ball at any time and you need a clear idea of what to do then too. You need clear organisation to win the ball back as quickly as possible. Of course, when the opposition have possession, our idea is to keep them away from goal and catch them while they are building play – winning balls and also ensuring that they’re no longer organised. Switching on after winning the ball is a great chance for us to score and be threatening. That is a key feature that you can see in our game.

What will you never compromise on?

Compromises are part of the job. When you start a new coaching job and you think of your idea of football, you then try to get a sense of the country’s culture, the club and the players’ strengths. That’s very important to me because it’s more about improving the players. Apart from that, I don’t think I’m too strict in my approach. At the end of the day, the most important thing is Benfica’s success. It’s not about me, so I’m always willing to make adjustments.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

You’ve worked as a coach in Germany, Austria, China and the Netherlands. Why did you choose Benfica?

I really like learning about new countries and new football cultures. I feel very happy when I get the chance to keep developing and seethings from another perspective. When I think about football, Benfica is among the biggest clubs, with lots of tradition, passion and loving supporters. After talking to the officials and Rui Costa, I felt that this job was exactly what I was looking for. I think I fit the club well: I match their ambition because they want to change things.

When did your philosophy take shape and who influenced it?

It began developing when I was a player. When you play and love football, you develop certain preferences. As an attacker, I loved getting forward. I was driven to win and that was the foundation when I became a manager. I thought about how I wanted to play and I was influenced by other managers. I started without a great deal of knowledge; I managed a team and tried to find my way. It was good to start as an amateur and try things out – my footballing standard increased as I rose through the ranks. I used this experience to get a clear idea of how I’d like to play. I took a lot from that and when I encountered Ralf Rangnick and Helmut Gross at Salzburg, I developed this extremely intensive style over time.  

Roger Schmidt watches on during Benfica’s round of 16 first leg win over Club Brugge (top); Congratulating his players after a point gained at the Parc des Princes in the group stage (above)

What are the cornerstones of your philosophy?

When talking about football or tactics, the easiest thing is to divide the game into ball possession. Talking about Benfica, we have the ball for most of the game and therefore we need clear solutions. It’s important to be active when you have the ball; a rhythm needs to develop. If you want to score, naturally the probability is higher when not all 11 opposition players are in position. You can also lose the ball at any time and you need a clear idea of what to do then too. You need clear organisation to win the ball back as quickly as possible. Of course, when the opposition have possession, our idea is to keep them away from goal and catch them while they are building play – winning balls and also ensuring that they’re no longer organised. Switching on after winning the ball is a great chance for us to score and be threatening. That is a key feature that you can see in our game.

What will you never compromise on?

Compromises are part of the job. When you start a new coaching job and you think of your idea of football, you then try to get a sense of the country’s culture, the club and the players’ strengths. That’s very important to me because it’s more about improving the players. Apart from that, I don’t think I’m too strict in my approach. At the end of the day, the most important thing is Benfica’s success. It’s not about me, so I’m always willing to make adjustments.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

You’ve worked as a coach in Germany, Austria, China and the Netherlands. Why did you choose Benfica?

I really like learning about new countries and new football cultures. I feel very happy when I get the chance to keep developing and seethings from another perspective. When I think about football, Benfica is among the biggest clubs, with lots of tradition, passion and loving supporters. After talking to the officials and Rui Costa, I felt that this job was exactly what I was looking for. I think I fit the club well: I match their ambition because they want to change things.

When did your philosophy take shape and who influenced it?

It began developing when I was a player. When you play and love football, you develop certain preferences. As an attacker, I loved getting forward. I was driven to win and that was the foundation when I became a manager. I thought about how I wanted to play and I was influenced by other managers. I started without a great deal of knowledge; I managed a team and tried to find my way. It was good to start as an amateur and try things out – my footballing standard increased as I rose through the ranks. I used this experience to get a clear idea of how I’d like to play. I took a lot from that and when I encountered Ralf Rangnick and Helmut Gross at Salzburg, I developed this extremely intensive style over time.  

Roger Schmidt watches on during Benfica’s round of 16 first leg win over Club Brugge (top); Congratulating his players after a point gained at the Parc des Princes in the group stage (above)

What are the cornerstones of your philosophy?

When talking about football or tactics, the easiest thing is to divide the game into ball possession. Talking about Benfica, we have the ball for most of the game and therefore we need clear solutions. It’s important to be active when you have the ball; a rhythm needs to develop. If you want to score, naturally the probability is higher when not all 11 opposition players are in position. You can also lose the ball at any time and you need a clear idea of what to do then too. You need clear organisation to win the ball back as quickly as possible. Of course, when the opposition have possession, our idea is to keep them away from goal and catch them while they are building play – winning balls and also ensuring that they’re no longer organised. Switching on after winning the ball is a great chance for us to score and be threatening. That is a key feature that you can see in our game.

What will you never compromise on?

Compromises are part of the job. When you start a new coaching job and you think of your idea of football, you then try to get a sense of the country’s culture, the club and the players’ strengths. That’s very important to me because it’s more about improving the players. Apart from that, I don’t think I’m too strict in my approach. At the end of the day, the most important thing is Benfica’s success. It’s not about me, so I’m always willing to make adjustments.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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