Benfica defeated Barcelona 3-2 in Berne in the 1961 European Cup final before coming from behind to beat then five-time winners Real Madrid 5-3 the following year.
But where there was triumph, disaster was never far away.
"From the moment he arrived in Portugal, Bela Guttman's relationship with Benfica was destined to be complex," says Portuguese football expert Ben Shave.
"After the second European Cup victory, Guttman approached the recently-elected president Antonio Carlos Cabral Fezas Vital with what seemed an eminently reasonable request -- a pay rise.
"Vital chose to turn Guttman down, whereupon the Hungarian departed with what has become a well-worn parting shot: a simple declaration that Benfica would not win another European Cup.
"Guttman's curse has proved painfully prophetic -- the Aguias have lost five European Cup finals since, in 1963, 1965, 1968, 1988, 1990."
Remembered for his uncompromising attitude, his innovation on the field and his nomadic existence, Guttmann's story gained further resonance following the emergence of Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho, a European champion with Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010 after beginning his career with a brief spell at Benfica.
"Guttman's prickly personality and relentless pursuit of success have led to comparisons with Mourinho in some quarters," Shave told CNN.
"What is certainly true is that both left Benfica in unfortunate fashion, and both departures became matters of considerable regret for the club.
"The results of Guttman's 'curse' have been well documented, whilst presidential candidate Manuel Vilarinho's stated wish to replace Mourinho with club legend Toni following the 2000 elections led to 'the Special One' taking his talents elsewhere.
"In a similar scenario to that which led to Guttman's tenure coming to an end, Mourinho approached Vilarinho with a contract extension request shortly after his election (and a 3-0 win over Sporting), which was denied.
"Vilarinho's opponents have dined out on that mistake since."
For Benfica's present players, it is up to them to earn redemption and finally close the book on Guttmann's curse.