Schmidt: Leverkusen must match Benfica aggression

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Head coach Roger Schmidt wants Bayer Leverkusen to match the aggression of Benfica when they meet in the UEFA Champions League.

The Group C rivals go head to head at the BayArena on Wednesday, having both fallen to defeats in their opening matches.

While Leverkusen were beaten 1-0 in Monaco, Benfica lost 2-0 at home to Zenit and Schmidt wants his side to match the visitors' intensity and work-rate, as well as imposing their own style on proceedings.

The former Red Bull Salzburg coach also expects plenty of aggression from an experienced Benfica team.

"They have a lot of experience in Europe - Benfica has got a clever team," the German told a media conference on Tuesday.

"They try to use any opportunity to score and try to defend well. They're very focused in the box and in the box of the opponent. Benfica fights for every ball and every inch. But they mastered this. 

"We have to adapt to their style. But I think our way to create an advantage when we are close to the ball will be to gain control of possession and with that we can hurt a team like Benfica.

"Our transition from attack to defence is good. I think we've seen that in each game until now. We have to show that. We have to be compact, because Benfica will be compact, too."

In Schmidt's first season at the club, Leverkusen have made a largely impressive start to the domestic campaign - losing just once in the Bundesliga. 

They were held to a goalless draw against Freiburg on Saturday, but Schmidt feels that the stalemate will serve as ideal preparation for what they will face against the Portuguese champions.

"They will play aggressive. It will be a game like against Freiburg where every player gives his best to win the ball. That's how we prepare," he added.

"We have to defend very well against a team like Benfica. They switch very well between attack and defence. They will wait for counter-attacks. Our attacking game is important, our game when in possession. 

"We have to play with a high quality - this will decide this game. These two aspects, our behaviour towards the ball and how we react when we lose the ball, will be important."