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Victor Boniface, the ‘harpoon’ of the ‘Xabineta’: “It is a real problem for rival defenses”

Victor Boniface scores against Darmstadt.

Xabi Alonso has completely changed the face of Bayer Leverkusen. He caught the team in relegation a year ago and has gone into the break as leader of the Bundesliga with nine points out of a possible nine, 11 goals for and three against. There are those who even dare to point out ‘Die Werkself’ as candidates to put an end to Bavaria’s 11 consecutive league titles.

A ‘metamorphosis’ in which Victor Boniface has had a lot to do with (Akure, 2000). The former Union Saint-Gilloise player, signed this summer for 20 million, has become the ‘harpoon’ of the ‘Xabineta’. The Nigerian attacker, who debuted with a goal in the Cup against Teutonia (0-8), has just chained two consecutive doubles against Borussia Mönchengladbach (0-3) and Darmstadt (5-1). Only Sehrou Guirassy (5) surpasses Boniface’s four goals in the fight for top scorer in the Bundesliga. The Nigerian, however, does not seem to be worried: “I’m not thinking about that. I just want to have a good season and help the team.”

I don’t think about that [the Pichichi]. I just want to have a good season and help the teamBoniface also accumulates two assists. Only three players, since ‘Opta’ began collecting data in 2004-05, have been involved in six goals in their first three Bundesliga games : the other two are Paco Alcácer (2018) and Erling Haaland (2020).

Xabi Alonso already suffered it with Union Saint-Gilloise in the quarterfinals of the last Europa League and is now causing havoc in the Bundesliga. “Victor is not just a good striker, he is a complete player. He is a real problem for rival defenses because he is powerful, fast… and generous. He works for the team, not for himself,” warns the Bayer Leverkusen coach.

Victor is not just a good striker, he is a complete player. He is a big problem for opposing defenses because he is powerful, fast… and generousPraise is reciprocal. “I have to thank the coach and my teammates for the way we played. It is as if we have known each other for a long time, and that is a credit to the coach. Xabi, in addition to being a good coach, is a great person. I really enjoy working with him,” Boniface acknowledges.

The new ‘killer’ of Bayer Leverkusen is proving in Germany the creative ability that he already exhibited during his time at Bodo/Glimt -he scored 23 goals in 66 games- and with USG -he scored 17 goals in 51 games-. Not only that. Boniface can boast of having been proclaimed, along with Rashford, top scorer of the 2022-23 Europa League with six goals in 10 games.

Not even the cold that he experienced in Norway, having just landed from Nigeria, could stop him. “I never doubted myself,” he says. The ‘harpoon’ of the ‘Xabineta’ already sees his next victim.

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