“I wanted to do something new, a new challenge in a new country. I wanted a new adventure,” Julian Weigl told the Portuguese newspaper The ball shortly after moving to Lisbon.
Not even a year later, however, the signs point to goodbye again. The Portuguese newspaper Record reportsthat the 25 year old who soon for the first time father is not averse to a return to the Bundesliga. What has happened in the past few months that Weigl went from being a savior to being a sales candidate so quickly?
Weigl: We wanted to dare an adventure
At the beginning of 2020, the surprising move of the defensive midfielder to Benfica Lisbon became known. Although he regularly collected playing time at BVB, Weigl decided to take the brave step to Portugal.
It wasn’t just the sporty aspect that played a role. “We are not just machines that are on the pitch. We are also young people who have desires and dreams. My wife and I always wanted to venture out on an adventure abroad. I had a few options. At Benfica, my gut feeling was right away.” he said at the time Sports picture.
The Portuguese record champions were delighted that Weigl, a young and internationally experienced player, was signed. Even a Benfica fan was running naked through the streets of Lisbon when the change became known. The German should become the new formative figure in the defensive midfield center.
Coach Bruno Lage fully relied on his new ball magnet. Weigl was almost always on the field with him from the start and his performances were good. It is true that he did not shape the game at Benfica as much as Joao Félix, who migrated in the summer, did, for example.
Weigl’s job was a different one anyway, as he himself explains: “I’m not a player who does a lot of tricks and then the stadium screams. My qualities as a defensive player are elsewhere. I think most fans know that. Strikers have it easier there and maybe score two goals in the first game. “
Bruno Lage is released, Jorge Jesus takes over
Benfica had a hard time in the second half of the season. At first there were too many draws, after the Corona break there were also defeats against supposedly smaller opponents. Championship competitor Porto took advantage of this weak phase and secured the title.
After a long crisis, that was too much for Bruno Lage. The 44-year-old was released on June 30, 2020, before the end of the season. The end of the coach under whom he was brought in brought bad news for Weigl as well.
On August 3rd, an old friend took over at Benfica: 66-year-old Jorge Jesus, who coached the Adler for six years between 2009 and 2015. There was a crucial tactical change under the veteran coach that has had an adoring effect on Weigl’s playing time.
Only a six – no place for Weigl in defense either
While Benfica almost always played with two sixs under Bruno Lage, Jesus switched to a formation with only one defensive midfielder.
As a clearer, Gabriel is the clear regular player so far. This is much more physical than Weigl. As a result, he is better able to cope with the demands of being the only six in the eyes of the coach.
Weigl can also help as a central defender – but the newcomers Nicolás Otamendi and Jan Vertonghen are there.
The Portugak adventure is over after just one year?
Weigl is mainly stewing on the bench. In this Liga NOS season he was on the pitch over the full distance in seven games, and in the Europa League there is also only one full game. There is no improvement in sight for the time being. That’s why reported Recordthat both Weigl and the club are considering a winter change. The Bundesliga is named as a realistic goal.
A few weeks ago, Weigl raved about his life in Portugal: “Sometimes it feels like a vacation. As a German you are not used to so much sun. It is a new quality of life when you go to the beach or on your free days stroll through the narrow streets of the dreamy city. “
For the former savior, this holiday could now be over sooner than originally planned.