Nigeria star Victor Boniface ignites Bayer Leverkusen’s Bundesliga ascent with blazing form


Victor Boniface’s arrival at Bayer Leverkusen slightly over a month ago may seem like a recent transition, but his seamless adjustment to both a new country and club has been nothing short of remarkable.

Bayer Leverkusen have started the current campaign with impressive momentum, winning each of their first three competitive fixtures and netting 11 goals in the process.

22-year-old Boniface has contributed with four goals and two assist, proving to be a constant menace for opposing defenses. His electrifying combination of speed, strength, technique, and a sharp eye for goal has kept defenders on their toes.

In a humble tone, Boniface reflected on his experience, telling, “It has been good. Leverkusen is a top team. Every young player dreams about playing in the top leagues, and the Bundesliga is a top league. Leverkusen is one of the best, so it is good.”

Leverkusen’s resurgence can be attributed to their head coach, Xabi Alonso, who took the helm in October, replacing Gerardo Seoane. Following a challenging start to the 2022/23 season where the team found themselves second from the bottom in the Bundesliga, Alonso orchestrated a remarkable turnaround, securing a commendable sixth-place finish and reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League.

Despite having a relatively short time to adapt to Alonso’s coaching methods, Boniface expressed his admiration for his new boss, saying, “Xabi is – apart from being a coach – a nice person to work with. I enjoy working with him. Even before I came to sign, we didn’t speak, but he spoke well about me after the first game. It is good for me.”

For Boniface, the journey to the Bundesliga was far from straightforward. In his early teenage years, he left his family home in pursuit of his football dreams, joining an academy in Nigeria.

“It was not easy,” he recalled. “At the same time, it was not just me, it was different people from different cities in Nigeria, 30 to 40 young players.” However, Boniface’s talent shone through, leading him to a move to local side Real Sapphire. His continued stellar performances eventually caught the attention of European clubs, including Bodo/Glimt in Norway. Despite the challenging weather conditions in Norway, Boniface was always confident that he could make his mark in Scandinavia.

“I never doubted myself in Norwegian football,” affirmed the striker. “I was always 100 percent focused because this is what I wanted to do. I always wanted to play football so I never doubted that in my life.”

With Boniface making a significant impact, Bayer Leverkusen are top of the league. Although it’s still early in the season, there is growing anticipation that Alonso’s team could be contenders for the league title.

When asked about the prospect of clinching the Meisterschale, Boniface responded, “Everyone has a different opinion about who is top of the league, but the most important thing is to keep the team doing what we have been doing. Try to win every game and get a good result. For me, that is the important thing.”

While discussions of silverware might be a bit premature, there’s no doubt that with Boniface leading the line, Bayer Leverkusen’s future looks promising in the black-and-red corner of North-Rhine Westphalia.

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