‘Special’ Victor Boniface on the verge of Bundesliga history as Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen face Werder Bremen

Bayer 04 Leverkusen could be crowned the new Bundesliga champions with a win over Werder Bremen at BayerArena on Sunday, reports. 

It would be the first time in Die Werkself’s 119-year history that the club will finish top of the German first division, having ended as runners-up on five different occasions.

Victor Boniface has played a major role in this unique achievement, and it would be a well-deserved honour, alongside Nathan Tella, to be Bayer’s first Bundesliga-winning Nigerian.

Back at the start of the campaign in August, when Bayer Leverkusen were not even considered Bayern Munich’s biggest challengers for the title, Boniface got the ball rolling for the ‘Neverkusen’.

The Nigerian forward, freshly acquired from Belgium’s Union Saint-Gilloise, assisted Bayer Leverkusen’s first league goal of the season in the 3-2 victory over RB Leipzig.

Boniface opened his goals account with a brace in the brilliant 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund on matchday two to make it an awesome August.

September was superb as Boniface began the month with a smashing double and an assist in a 5-1 thrashing of Darmstadt.

The young forward was unlucky not to score in a 2-2 draw against Bayern Munich, but he returned to fire two goals past Heidenheim in a 4-1 victory the following week.

Boniface only scored against Cologne in October, but he registered an assist against Wolfsburg as he established himself as Leverkusen’s top striker.

By November, Bayer Leverkusen were in full flow, claiming three wins out of three, with Boniface bagging two assists in the 3-2 win at Hoffenheim.

It was a December to remember for Boniface as the 23-year-old found the net against Borussia Dortmund, Eintracht Frankfurt, and Bochum as Leverkusen finished as the winter champions in Germany.

Boniface was named the Bundesliga’s best young player in each of those first few months. 

Injury, however, struck Boniface while on international duty, forcing him to miss the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria.

He also was unavailable for Bayer Leverkusen for more than three months, during which time the club managed to keep their unbeaten run going.

Boniface finally returned in April and featured from the bench as Xabi Alonso’s men dispatched Fortuna Duesseldorf 4-0 to reach the final of the German Cup.

Three days later, Bayer earned a hard-fought 1-0 win at Union Berlin to go within a victory of claiming the club’s first-ever league title. Boniface played the last 23 minutes of that encounter.

With manager Alonso looking to ease Boniface slowly into competitive action following his injury spell, the former Liverpool manager again started the Super Eagles striker on the bench in midweek against West Ham in the Europa League.

The Premier League campaigners were looking good enough to secure a goalless draw when Alonso sent in Boniface with only 14 minutes left to play.

By full-time, it was 2-0 to Bayer Leverkusen, with Boniface having a hand in the opener and heading home the clincher to send the Hammers back to England with an empty bag.

Next is a league clash with Werder Bremen. The last time the two teams met inside the Wohninvest WESERSTADION in Bremen, Leverkusen soared to a 3-0 win.

Another win on Sunday will seal the first Bundesliga title in history for Bayer Leverkusen.

It will also make Boniface only the third Nigerian to win the German top-flight honours after Pascal Ojigwe with Kaiserslautern in 1998 and Sunday Oliseh with Borussia Dortmund in 2002.

Every Bayer Leverkusen player, including Boniface, would love to start that historic game against Werder Bremen.

Alonso, who considers Boniface a special footballer, admits that the Nigerian is fit to make the starting lineup following his display against West Ham.

“He is a special player, his first six months were strong and the injury was a shame,” said Alonso.

“Having him back is very good. Against West Ham, his impact on the game was top not only because of his goal but also because of his movement and ability to hold the ball. We need him, and he is ready to play from the start.”

Interestingly, Bayer Leverkusen could be champions as early as Saturday without even kicking a ball.

Die Werkself boast a 16-point lead over their pursuers from Munich and Stuttgart.

And Bayer Leverkusen could be crowned champions on Saturday if FC Bayern lose against Cologne and Stuttgart crumble against Frankfurt.

Whichever way it comes, a huge title celebration is inevitable in Leverkusen.

Thankfully, Nigeria’s green-and-white flag will be proudly displayed somewhere in there, thanks to the exploits of Boniface and Tella.

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