Benfica will host Eintracht Frankfurt in the 1st leg of the Europa Quarterfinals tonight in the Estádio da Luz.
Another packed crowd is expected in the Luz as Jovic returns to Portugal against his parent club Benfica.
Jovic joined Frankfurt on-loan two years ago from Benfica and has since blossomed into one of the top young players in Europe with the traditional European power clubs all rumored to buy him.
Frankfurt reportedly paid €200,000 for a 2-year loan deal and plan to trigger his buyout clause for €7 million. They will then turn around and make a hefty profit by selling him to one of the giants for many times more.
Portuguese striker Gonçalo Paciência also returns to Portugal to play for Frankurt against Benfica. He joined the German club last season on a four-year deal after previously playing for FC Porto. He will start tonight on the bench.
Benfica, who find themselves in first place battle with FC Porto in the Liga NOS, will seek to stop Jovic and Paciência, and score a few goals to move on to the second leg comfortably.
Both teams avoided playing bigger clubs in this round and each fancy their chances as 50/50 to advance, making this an exciting two-leg affair.
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“I’m still watching Portuguese football and it’s a special time. But still, I feel relatively normal. It’s an honor for me to play for Eintracht and I want to win against Benfica.”
“My brother plays in the youth department of Benfica. That’s why the contest is special for me. Of course, we have talked about it. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
“Benfica have been getting better since the arrival of coach Bruno Lage, but FC Porto is always consistent, which is the character of that club. For that reason I expect the championship and title will go north.”
Adi Hütter, Frankfurt Manager
“We must not give Benfica too much room, and we have to defend well. They have a really good team. We need the right balance between a tight defense and a bold attack.”
Bruno Lage (on Jovic)
“When we reach this level, there are no bad players. There are phases of adaptation and we have to be careful with the young players – even those who come from our academy – to understand the adaptation they are going through. And when a young man comes from abroad, it is difficult because they come from a different context and we have to give them time.”
“If I were asked 20 years ago if I thought it was possible to be here, I would say that it would be impossible, but I let things come naturally and look at what I can control. And that’s training, playing, and going home to see the Panda channel with my family.”
“What has changed is that I used to hold press conferences for 2 or 3 people and now I have a full room. But the preparation of the team is the same.”
“It’s going to be a good match. I’m going to play against some friends. They know me and I know them. It will be good to play against them and see familiar faces.”