The amazement at the Estádio da Luz’s stands in Lisbon before the season’s first match in the competition was probably great. Benfica coach Rui Vitória did not rely on regular keeper Bruno Varela for Fenerbahce’s qualifying duel for the Champions League, but on German goalkeeper Odisseas Vlachodimos, who had just signed on. He was considered a substitute for the Portuguese goalkeeper’s talent. But Vlachodimos has been the new number one at Benfica Lisbon since the start of the season – and will also be in goal against FC Bayern in the evening.
The Portuguese record champion has many traditions: great players, legendary coaches, regular titles. In the recent past, the constant rotation on the goalkeeper position has been added. Routine players like Artur Moraes and José Moreira have alternated with talents like Ederson and Jan Oblak. Mile Svilar, an 18-year-old, scored last year in the premier class group game. But he was not convincing. With Varela, Benfica seemed to have finally found the in-house solution. Then came Vlachodimos.
His path should have led to the goal of VfB Stuttgart. At least that was the plan. Vlachodimos played for all youth teams and also represented the club in all DFB junior selections. Vlachodimos was set up to replace Przemyslaw Tyton as a temporary solution. But sometimes a bad day is enough and years of planning are suddenly gone.
In August 2015, at the match against Eintracht Frankfurt, Tyton saw the red card after an emergency brake at a score of 1:2. The time had come for Vlachodimos, but the then 21-year-old conceded a penalty goal from Haris Seferovic. He could not prevent the bankruptcy, Stuttgart lost 1:4. In the following match against Hertha, they lost 1:2. Vlachodimos played well, but was back on the bench in the next match against Schalke.
Only weeks later was he allowed to represent Tyton again, who was out because of a gastrointestinal infection. Stuttgart lost again – this time 0:4 in their own stadium against the last of the table Augsburg. Vlachodimos did not cut a good figure and was no longer used by coach Alexander Zorniger. In winter, he left his VfB.
The German-Greek was accommodated by Panathinaikos. In Athens he did not even make it into the squad at first. Luke Steele, an Englishman blessed with a manageable talent, stood in the goal, the place on the bench belonged to veteran Stefanos Kotsolis. It took almost a year for Vlachodimos to move past both of them in the hierarchy.
It was obvious early on that Vlachodimos from Stuttgart had promising investments. In addition to his strong reflexes on the line, he also captivates with his 1.91 meters in the penalty area control. Vlachodimos is a modern goalkeeper who plays along and not only sticks to the line. The courageous game can go wrong, as in Stuttgart. Or it works, as in Athens: At Panathinaikos he remained without a goal in 34 of 63 games. Already in the middle of last season the request came from Portugal, at the current season he moved to Lisbon.
Benfica were disappointed with the time they had played, compared to the club’s expectations. In the cup, it was the end of the round of sixteen, in the championship, the team was seven points behind champions FC Porto. The club left the Champions League in the group stage against Manchester United, FC Basel and ZSKA Moscow with zero points and 1:14 goals. Although it would have been romantic for Benfica to continue to rely on Varela to score, the club’s leaders were no longer convinced. Betdaq offers exchange, 1bet, multiples and poker.
Since Vlachodimos has been keeping the Benfica goal, the team has been without defeat. The club are number one in the table after four matchdays, only having to leave points against city rivals Sporting. In the qualification for the Champions League, the team prevailed against Fenerbahce and PAOK Saloniki.
The real touchstones are still waiting. Benfica will welcome FC Porto to the league at the beginning of October, but FC Bayern will be coming to Estádio da Luz in the premier league for the first time. Then some VfB fans will probably take a close look at how their former talent performs at the highest level. He has already convinced the Benfica fans in the ranks.