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Can Benfica make their mark on the Champions League?

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Last year coming to the final parts of the season SL Benfica were in the Final of the Europa League, the Final of the Taca de Portugal and were sitting 1st place in the Liga Zon Sagres.

Unfortunately for them it went from one disaster to another; loosing both cups and finishing second in the League after defeat to FC Porto on the last day of the season.

Although Benfica did not enjoy the end of last season they had proved a lot, long before that point.

Last season Benfica on the attack were frightening and allowed everyone to see the wide range of attacking quality they have. Oscar Cardozo led their attack the Paraguayan was prolific in front of goal scoring 33 goals all competitions.

A big reason for his number of goals was Benfica's midfield.

Out wide Benfica were extremely strong with the Argentinian pair of Nicolas Gaitan and Eduardo Salvio, both excellent wingers. Crossing the ball and choosing the right ball in the final third their speciality.

However Benfica's strengths did not stop there.

The centre of the park was also divine. Nemanja Matic was another key player in the team, playing as the holding midfield player he was voted Liga Zon Sagres player of the season. The holding midfielder caught the eye of Manchester United and Chelsea over the summer and found himself heavily linked with the English giants.

Ahead of Matic in the centre of midfield was Enzo Perez another Argentine.

Perez enjoyed striding forward last year for Benfica as Matic stayed back it provided him with the freedom to join the attack and allow him to play further up field.

Lima was also used as a striker last season and was very reliable scoring many important goals, especially in the domestic league.

Rodrigo and Ola John also participated in Benfica's attacking line up last season. They were often used to maintain fitness throughout the squad and to provide the younger players with as many opportunities as possible.

Benfica are littered with exciting players and this year added to the squad that almost tasted success last season.

Losing none of their key players and bringing in more attacking threats: the Serbian trio of Filip Djuricic, Lazar Markovic and Miralem Sulejami being some of the most noticeable.

Not only have Benfica added even more depth to their young exciting squad they also have the pleasure of the Champions League final being held at their very own Estadio Da Luz in Lisbon.

Benfica's group is a tough one with Paris Saint-Germain, Anderlecht and Olympiakos involved. However Benfica's depth is far too solid for them not to wriggle their way out of the group.

A 2-0 win over Anderlecht kick started Benfica's European campaign even with a limited squad. Benfica had both Gaitan and Salvio ruled out through injury leaving them to try a different system.

They opted to use the 4-3-3 formation. Markovic and Djuricic occupied the wings as Oscar Cardozo led the attack after returning from injury.

The midfield was also changed Matic and Perez are some of Jorge Jesus's key players they were assisted by Ljubomir Fesja another summer signing. Although their attack was pleasant on the eye, the tight compact defence and Artur Moraes the keeper should take some credit; keeping a clean sheet and Luisao the Benfica Captain bagging himself a goal.

Benfica have generated a robust squad ready for this season and it has given Jesus the task of rotating the players so they have a strong enough team for both the Champions League and the Portugese League.

Benfica are certainly not favourites for this legendary competition, but the squad that they possess is ready to make their mark on the Champions League.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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