After claiming Primeira Liga by a narrow two-point margin in 2022/23, Benfica – Portugal’s most decorated club – are on the hunt for a record extending 39th league title, and back-to-back triumphs for the first time since the 2015/16 – 2016/17 season.
Manager Roger Schmidt has set high standards since his appointment in May 2022 and expectations have been raised ahead of the new campaign.
With Taca de Portugal and Taca da Liga also up for grabs in a busy season, the club brought in no fewer than seven players in the summer transfer window to help fulfil their goals.
World Cup winner Angel Di Maria, a free transfer from Juventus, is the standout new signing, but the club have also splashed the cash in recruiting Orkun Kokcu, Arthur Cabral, David Jurasek and Anatoliy Trubin.
- Introduction presenting the key question the article aims to answer and emphasizing the importance of Benfica’s schedule in the context of the club’s aspirations for the year.
Key Fixtures and Competitions – Highlights of the Calendar
Benfica met their old foe Porto in the opening game of the 2023/24 season in the annual curtain raiser Supertaca Candido de Oliveira on August 9. Goals by Angel Di Maria and Petar Musa helped Benfica to a 2-0 win, a morale-booster ahead of the new campaign as their fans claimed the early bragging rights.
The Eagles got their UEFA Champions League campaign under way on September 20 with a home game against RB Salzburg, losing 2-0.
But they didn’t dwell too long on the loss as they bounced back with a 1-0 victory over Porto in the Primeira Liga nine days later.
October was a busy month for cup fixtures as Benfica continued their Champions League campaign with games against Inter Milan and Real Sociedad on October 3 and October 24 respectively, losing both matches 1-0.
It has been eight years since Benfica last lifted the Taca da Liga but they got their campaign off to a perfect start by beating Arouca 2-0 on October 31.
However, another defeat followed in the Champions League as Real Sociedad ran out 3-1 winners on November 8, virtually ending the two-time winners’ participation in the competition for another year.
Benfica continued their strong start to the Primeira Liga campaign with a 2-1 triumph over Sporting on November 12 and advanced to the fifth round of the Taca de Portugal with a 2-0 win over Famalicao on November 25.
Four days later, Benfica held Inter to a 3-3 draw in the Champions League and on December 12, they recorded 3-1 win over RB Salzburg to secure their place in the UEFA Europa League, a trophy they have yet to win in their long history. A two legged match with Ligue 1 side Toulouse awaits in February.
A 4-1 win over AVS on December 21 saw Benfica progress to the semi-final of Taca da Liga where they will meet Estoril Praia on January 24, 2024 while The Eagles can also look forward to a round of 16 match with Braga in Taca de Portugal on January 10.
Having not won either competition in many years, Benfica will be determined to get their hands on both trophies.
A potentially season-defining game in Primeira Liga occurs on March 3 when Benfica travel to Estadio do Dragao to play arch rivals Porto.
Should Benfica win, they will undoubtedly have their eyes on the game at Sporting on April 7 – another crucial game in their calendar every year.
They conclude their Primeira Liga campaign at home to Arouca on May 12 and an away game at Rio Ave a week later.
- Provide insights into key fixtures in SL Benfica’s schedule for 2024, including domestic league matches, cup competitions, and potential international tournaments.
- Highlight the significance of each competition and its importance to Benfica’s season.
Notable Matchups – Anticipated Encounters
Benfica’s 2023/24 season got off to a bang as they met fierce rivals Porto in the opening game of the season in the derby known as O Classico on August 9. The Eagles ran out 2-0 winners as they clinched the Supertaca Candido de Oliveira thanks to goals by Angel Di Maria and Petar Musa.
The first O Classico of the Primeira Liga campaign took place on September 29 at Estadio da Luz and once again Benfica took the spoils, with Di Maria’s 68th-minute strike proving decisive.
Can Benfica secure a hat-trick of wins when the clubs meet again on March 3, 2024 at Estadio do Dragao?
Another fixture that Benfica fans look out for at the start of the season are the matches against Sporting Lisbon. The first Derby de Lisboa of the new term took place on November 12 with Benfica emerging 2-1 victors with stoppage-time goals by Joao Neves and Casper Tengstedt. The reverse fixture will be held at Estadio Jose Alvalade on April 7.
The UEFA Champions League is always treated as a priority for Benfica. Qualification was ensured by winning the Primeira Liga title. However, the team failed to perform in Group D, losing four of their six matches, although it was enough to secure a place in the UEFA Europa League.
Supporters of Benfica now await a knockout play-off game with Ligue 1 side Toulouse on February 15 and February 22. The French side qualified by winning the Coupe de France against Nantes 5-1.
- Highlight notable matchups in SL Benfica’s schedule, including rivalries, high-stakes encounters, and matches with historical significance.
- Discuss the context and potential storylines surrounding each matchup.
Domestic League Campaign – Pursuit of Glory
Benfica are seeking a record extending 39th Primeira Liga title and their first back-to-back league trophy since the 2015/16 2016/17 seasons.
Nothing other than league glory will satisfy the club’s supporters and owners. Undoubtedly, their biggest rivals for the league crown are Sporting Lisbon and Porto.
Benfica took the bragging rights over Porto in the first O Classico of the Primeira Liga campaign on September 29 at Estadio da Luz. The reverse fixture takes place on March 3, 2024 at Estadio do Dragao.
The O Classico fixtures of the 2023/24 season are as follows:
• September 29 – Benfica v Porto
• March 3 – Porto v Benfica
Sporting last won the Primeira Liga title in the 2020/21 season but a strong start to the current campaign has given them a great chance of winning the league.
Potentially season defining events are the matches between Benfica and Sporting in the games known as the Derby de Lisboa. Benfica won the first 2-1 on November 12 and the clubs will meet again at Estadio Jose Alvalade on April 7.
The Derby de Lisboa fixtures of the 2023/24 season are as follows:
• November 12 – Benfica v Sporting
• April 7 – Sporting v Benfica
The appointment of Roger Schmidt in May 2022 was seen as a key piece of business by the Benfica board and the German coach led the club to league success in his first season in charge.
Crucial to landing him successive league titles will be the form of Angel Di Maria, the World Cup winner brought in from Juventus on a free transfer in the summer. Aged 35, the Argentina international is one of the team’s most experienced players, but Benfica have a reputation for bringing through highly talented academy players.
Defender Antonio Silva, 20, and midfielder Joao Neves, 19, will hope to play a big part in Benfica’s success.
Striker Rafa Silva will be expected to score the goals and his form will be important in determining the level of success Benfica achieve in the 2023/24 season.
- Discuss SL Benfica’s objectives in domestic league competitions for the year 2024.
- Provide insights into the team’s strategies, key players, and challenges in the pursuit of domestic success.
Cup Competitions – Chasing Silverware
Thanks to their transfer activity in the summer, Benfica now have considerable strength in depth. That is important for the club to compete across all fronts, including in the Taca da Liga and Taca de Portugal competitions.
Benfica last won Taca da Liga in the 2015/16 season, while they haven’t triumphed in the Taca de Portugal since 2016/17. Therefore, the club will feel it imperative to finally taste success in either tournament.
The Eagles’ results in Taca de Portugal so far this season have been as follows:
• October 20 – Lusitania 1-4 Benfica (third round)
• November 25 – Benfica 2-0 Famalicao (fourth round)
On January 10, Benfica will play Braga in the last 16 and because it is a reasonably difficult fixture, it is expected manager Roger Schmidt will field a strong team.
Meanwhile, Benfica’s results in Taca da Liga so far have been as follows:
• October 31 – Arouca 0-2 Benfica (group stage)
• December 21 – Benfica 4-1 AVS (group stage)
On January 24, Benfica will play Estoril Praia in the semi-final. Their opposition are currently in the top half of the table and could represent a tricky match. Therefore, again it is likely that Schmidt will field a strong group of players.
- Explore SL Benfica’s participation in cup competitions during the year, including national and international tournaments.
- Discuss the club’s ambitions and preparations for cup competitions.
International Engagements – Benfica on the Global Stage
The UEFA Champions League is always an important competition for Benfica. This season, the club was drawn in Group D alongside Real Sociedad (Spain), Inter Milan (Italy) and RB Salzburg (Austria). The fixtures took place as follows:
• Benfica v RB Salzburg – 20 September
• Inter v Benfica – October 3
• Benfica v Real Sociedad – October 24
• Real Sociedad v Benfica – November 8
• Benfica v Inter – November 29
• RB Salzburg v Benfica – December 12
As a result of their third-placed finish in Group D, Benfica can look forward to competing in the UEFA Europa League in February. The knockout round play-offs take place on
• Benfica v Toulouse – February 15
• Toulouse v Benfica – February 22
Toulouse qualified for the Europa League by winning the Coupe de France the season before, beating Nantes 5-1.
The full schedule for the 2023/24 Europa League knockout stage is as follows:
• Knockout round play-offs: 15 and 22 February 2024
• Round of 16: 7 and 14 March 2024
• Quarter-finals: 11 and 18 April 2024
• Semi-finals: 2 and 9 May 2024
• Final: 22 May 2024
Benfica last competed in the Europa League in 2020/21 when they reached the last 32. They made it to the final in 1982-83, losing to Anderlecht, and in 2013/14 and 2012/13, losing on both occasions to Sevilla and Chelsea respectively.
There are approximately 14 million Benfica supporters worldwide; to boost the club’s popularity, success in Europe is paramount.
- Highlight any international tournaments or friendly matches in which SL Benfica is participating.
- Discuss the club’s representation on the global stage and the impact of international engagements on Benfica’s brand.
Fan Engagement – Socios.com and Benfica Fan Tokens
Socios.com welcomes passionate fans to be rewarded for being what they have always been – passionate fans!
It’s the biggest fan engagement and rewards app in the world, embraced by sporting giants like Benfica, FC Barcelona, AC Milan, Atletico de Madrid, Manchester City, Arsenal, Juventus, Inter Milan, Paris Saint Germain and many more.
Over 2M+ fans worldwide have joined the platform to reward their passion.
They’re doing this by using Fan Tokens to vote in official team polls, predict scores, choose their favourite players, check-in and play games in exchange for points that can later be used to redeem exclusive Fan Rewards.
Socios.com offers some of the best rewards in the world for fans, with VIP tickets, the chance to meet players and legends, behind-the-scenes access, team merch and collectibles all available.
Fan Tokens are official team-branded digital assets that allow fans to access a wide range of fan engagement features and rewards on the Socios.com app.
- Explore how Socios.com enhances fan engagement with SL Benfica, providing unique opportunities for supporters to actively participate in club decisions.
- Discuss how Fan Tokens and exclusive experiences contribute to the connection between the club and its fans.
Looking Ahead – Benfica’s Aspirations for 2024
Benfica begin the calendar year in a perfect position to launch an assault on all cup competitions they had entered at the start of the season.
With 15 Primeira Liga games played, Benfica start the year in second place, one point behind leaders Sporting.
In the other domestic trophies, Benfica have made it to the semi-final of Taca da Liga and the last 16 of Taca de Portugal.
Being eliminated from the UEFA Champions League is a great source of disappointment for the club but having the consolation of being in the UEFA Europa League is very encouraging. It is a competition they have never won before but Benfica will be confident of at least a deep run this time around.
With four trophies up for grabs, how many do you believe the club will finish with? We would love to hear your views.
- Discuss SL Benfica’s aspirations for the year 2024, including potential achievements, goals, and the club’s vision for success.
- Encourage readers to share their thoughts on Benfica’s prospects for the year ahead and actively engage with the club’s journey.