Co Adriaanse hopes FC Twente's team ethic will prevail over the individual talents of SL Benfica when they meet in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League play-off in Enschede.
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Co Adriaanse hopes that the team ethic will prevail over individual talent when his FC Twente side welcome SL Benfica for the first leg of their UEFA Champions League play-off.
Adriaanse has been well briefed by his chief scout Evert Bleuming on the creative qualities of Jorge Jesus's visitors but believes his own team form a stronger unit and is hopeful they can make this count in Tuesday's meeting in the Netherlands.
"Benfica are a side with huge attacking power, but sometimes they are also vulnerable," said Adriaanse. "
The big difference between Twente and Benfica is that they have a side full of established stars but I still think that as a team we are stronger. We will have to wait and see if that will be enough to cancel out their individual superiority."
Twente, Dutch Cup winners and Eredivisie runners-up as well as UEFA Champions League debutants in 2010/11, will be missing forward Nacer Chadli with a knee problem but defender Thilo Leugers should be available after sitting out Saturday's 2-0 win over AZ Alkmaar with strained knee ligaments.
That was the third straight domestic victory this season for Adriaanse's side, who last month beat AFC Ajax in the Dutch Super Cup. Costa Rica forward Bryan Ruiz scored their winner then and was on target again with an eye-catching lob against Alkmaar on Saturday. "I do not see another [player like] Ruiz in the Netherlands," said Adriaanse of a player whom Benfica will have to watch closely.
While Twente beat Romania's SC Vaslui in the third qualifying round, Benfica got the better of Trabzonspor AŞ. The Lisbon club opened their domestic league campaign on Friday by surrendering a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw at Gil Vicente FC but Luisão, suspended for that match, will be available along with Spanish international Joan Capdevila, who has yet to play since arriving from Villarreal CF.
Pablo Aimar, who limped off at half-time against Gil Vicente, should also feature according to Jesus. "He might not be able to play the 90 minutes but he could start or come on later on." The visiting coach recognised the high stakes of the contest – "whether they be financial or sports-related" – but was hopeful his squad would meet the challenge, arguing that Benfica "have a stronger group" in terms of options, if not a better starting XI, than in 2009/10, when they won their last Portuguese title.
It was in 2009/10 that Benfica's neighbours Sporting Clube de Portugal came to Enschede in the third qualifying round and broke Dutch hearts with a last-gasp own goal that sent the visitors through to the group stage on away goals. It may be similarly tight once again, though Twente will hope for a different ending.