Benfica play Borussia Dortmund at the Westfalenstadion tonight, with a place in the Champions League quarter-finals on offer to the aggregate victor. Benfica have a 1-0 lead to defend from the first leg, but Dortmund are in sparkling form, having defeated Bayer Leverkusen 6-2 in the Bundesliga on Saturday. In his pre-match press conference, Rui Vitória was asked whether his tactical approach would differ at all from the teams’ previous meeting.

"One game has already passed. Now there is a deeper and more precise understanding... therefore I'll figure out a different approach. No two games are the same, because it was 0-0 before and now it is 1-0. (This) game is a living story, with different nuances. We know that we will face a good team, but we believe in our own value."

"We know that a goal for us will have an impact. We know that they play at home and that they will be looking to win. They are different approaches. What's fundamental is that our concentration levels are very high and that we counter-attack with discretion. We will meet a strong team, but we take pleasure in being here to enjoy these games. We are happy, but we always want more!"

"With any opponent, whether from a lower league, or whether of this magnitude, the objective is to win. A (team like) Dortmund obliges great caution. (But) that doesn't invalidate the opportunities that we can have, nor mean that we don't want to go there to score."

"There are moments in which we have to play with deeper (defensive) lines, others in which the defensive line will be in midfield, and others in which we will seek out the goal to score."

Despite winning the first leg at the Estádio da Luz, Benfica were outplayed by the German giants for the vast majority of the game. So did the Eagles just get lucky?

"We did things well, (but) we know there are (other) things to correct. Fortunately, we have already contributed 8 victories in 17 Champions League games since [my staff and I] arrived. That is positive for Portuguese football and deserves to be highlighted."

"All of the teams depend on a degree of luck to arrive at a European final, whether that's the draw, specific moments from the teams and from their opponents, or the capacity of the clubs in terms of their finances and magnitude. When we have a player that is performing well, others come to pick him up... in other teams this doesn't happen.”

“In the long run, greater things can be achieved, but for this we need stability, and continuity in terms of players. The age of the players also has to be different. It may take some time, but we have to work with a vision, and we have one."

Finally, Vitória was quizzed about how he expects his players to respond to the intimidating atmosphere of the Westfalenstadion, also known as Signal Iduna Park, which seats around 65,000 spectators for European and international games.

"(It's) an atmosphere where we also want to play. We are accustomed to these types of stadiums. We are used to this at the Estádio da Luz. We've been together for some time, and we also have players here that are accustomed to these experiences from their (previous) clubs and their national teams."

Andreas Samaris also attended the press conference, answering his questions in fluent Portuguese. The 27-year old midfielder is expected to make his fourth consecutive start on Wednesday night, in the continued absence of the injured Ljubomir Fejsa.

To begin with, Samaris was asked to react to a troubling statistic: the fact that Dortmund have won all five of their previous home games against Portuguese opposition.

"We look at each game differently, and not at the history. We want to make history, but the most important (thing) is to get through this round, without thinking about the result of the first leg."

"We know that they have good offensive quality... the frontline is very good, but we respect all teams equally. We're not afraid."

"In the first game, we committed some errors that aren't normal. This gives us confidence... If we don't commit them again, we can get through the tie."

"Our objective is to win game by game, and get through each round. We have ambitions, obviously... that's why we are here."

The Greek international was also asked whether his compatriot Kostas Mitroglou is Benfica’s star player, having scored 18 goals in his last 17 appearances.

"We have 28 players that do everything for the badge (and) for the team, and this makes all of them the best players." 

Lastly, Samaris explained that he has benefited from his recent run of games in the first team.

"I feel good, I'm in form... the (run of) games help, but the training sessions are what's fundamental. I feel good and I'm ready to help the team."

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3 Comments

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