Helder Cristovão‘s Benfica B side is looking to improve from last season’s 5th place spot to hopefully a first place spot in the Segunda Liga Portuguesa. Results as of late have been prolific to say the least. The B Teams pre season matches included a semi – finalist position in the Lev Yashin Tournament held in Russia. On July 24, 2014 Benfica B lost to Dinamo Moscow B in PK’s. Other results included a 4-3 victory against Ajax B, 2-1 against Mérida and drew 1-1 to Extremadure UD. Their momentum carried onto the first game of the season on August 9 in which they defeated Trofense 3-2 at The Seixal. Goals came from future Benfica first – team prospects Rui Fonte, João Teixeira, and Ruben Pinto.
Although B Teams are not eligible for promotion or have eligibility participating in league or cup games, the main focus and purpose for a B team is player development for the future main squad.With the recent promotion of 10 Benfica Juniors to the B squad, there is no doubt that this team is a more younger squad then previous seasons. Players like Nuno Santos, Gonçalo Guedes, and Thierry Graça all have great potential and talents and may very well end up on Benfica’s main squad sooner then later if given a proper chance to play.
Additions To Benfica B 2014/15
Thierry Graça (Benfica Juniores) GK
Pedro Rebocho (Benfica Juniores) D
Alexandre Alfaiate (Benfica Juniores D
João Nunes (Benfica Juniores D
Sérginho (Bragança) D
Didi ??? M
Rochinha (Benfica Juniores) M
Raphael Guzzo (Benfica Juniores) M
Pawel Dawidowicz (Lechia Gdańsk) M
Nuno Santos (Benfica Juniores) F
Gonçalo Guedes (Benfica Juniores) F
Romário Baldé (Benfica Juniores) F
Kevin Friesenbichler (Bayern Munich B) F
Subtractions To Benfica 2014/15
Mika (Boavista) GK
Stefan Mitrović (Freiburg) D
Huang Wei (Farense) D
Rafael Ramos (Orlando City in 2015) D
Estrela (Orlando City in 2015) D
André Gomes (Valencia) M
Uroš Matič (NAC Breda) M
Jorge Rojas (Gimnasia La Plata) M
Bernardo Silva (AS Monaco) M
Rogelio Funes Mori (Eskişehirspor) F
Clésio (Harrisburg City Islanders) F
Ivan Cavaleiro (Deportivo De La Coruña) F
Outside of Portugal, the B team has Pawel Dawidowicz the 19 year old was acquired in which we first thought was going to be a replacement to the always injured Lubjimor Fejsa. He has height but still needs to gain experience and will have a lot to compete for if he wants to gain a spot against João Teixeira. The talk of this B team thus far is Kevin Friesenbichler who has recently arrived from Bayern Munich B. The Austrian forward has scored against Ajax B, Setubal, and was active during the Lev Yashin Tournament. If Benfica’s main team continues to lose more strikers throughout the up and coming season we may very well see the young 19 year old get an opportunity for some minutes if not in a league game then in a cup game.
Another player who may also see some main team league or cup action is 20 year old Swede Victor Nilsson–Lindelöf who is beginning his third season on Benfica and was called up to play 25 minutes in the “Classico” as FC Porto defeated Benfica 2-1 on the very last game of the season. Lindelöf is almost 6’2″ and is versatile and can be positioned as CB or in a 6 type of role. He played 33 games last season on the B team and scored 2 goals but conceded 5 yellow cards and 2 red cards.
Made In Benfica
Perhaps the biggest disappointment is that Benfica B’s João Teixeira may not be in the plans of Benfica;s main squad this season. He will however continue his great form that he started during the pre season and continue to not only put his name on the score sheet but show his aggression in creating opportunities for his team. With the likes of Enzo, Amorim, Tallisca, and possibly Almeida available, Teixeira may have to wait around another year to gain a spot on the main team.
Any of the newly promoted Benfica Juniors will play a great part of the 2014/15 season if they are given a chance. In terms of the first choice as Goal Keeper, although Bruno Varela may be the first in line we may see an emergence to the main squad as either a starter or back up to Artur. This will leave a spot to open up to either Thierry Graça, (UEFA Youth League Semi – Finalist) Miguel Santos, or André Ferreira.
Experienced but not yet veterans to the squad such as Helder Costa, Ruben Pinto will continue to lead the team forward into a successful campaign and hopefully use their experience on the B team to help the newly promoted Juniors settle in. One of the biggest defaults of this team last season was not their lack of goals but their ability to allow in so many goals. If this team can focus as much on defending as they do on attacking hopefully they can diminish some of those countless errors on the back and go from being a top 5 team to the top team in the Segunda Liga Portuguesa.
Força Benfica B!