Victor Boniface: The Numbers Behind His Incredible Start at Bayer Leverkusen

Victor Boniface: The Numbers Behind His Incredible Start at Bayer Leverkusen

Edwin Kiplagat
updated at May 16, 2024 at 7:34 PM
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  • Victor Boniface has been brilliant at Bayer Leverkusen this season
  • The Nigerian has played a vital role in the team's historic campaign
  • Despite an injury setback, he is their top scorer in the Bundesliga

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On Wednesday, May 15, Victor Boniface won the Bundesliga Rookie of the Season award following an outstanding season with Bayer Leverkusen.

The Nigerian, playing his first Bundesliga season, provided goals and assists that powered Leverkusen to their first-ever Bundesliga crown.

The 23-year-old was sidelined for nearly four months earlier this year but returned during a crucial period to help his team secure the league title.

Victor Boniface, Bayer Leverkusen, Nigeria, Xabi Alonso, Bundesliga, Europa League
Victor Boniface celebrates after scoring for Bayer Leverkusen. Photo by Jörg Schüler/Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
Source: Getty Images

Boniface arrived at the club last summer from Belgian side Union Saint-Gilloise, and few anticipated his impact.

The Super Eagles star earned his stripes in Norway between 2019 and 2022. He joined Saint-Gilloise and played there for one season, where he registered 22 goals and 12 assists in 55 appearances.

It was risky to sign a player who had spent a year out with a torn cruciate ligament. For Leverkusen, it has paid off incredibly well. He has registered 20 goals and 10 assists in all competitions in 32 matches, and excellent return. He is the club's leading scorer this season, per Transfermarkt.

Lightning Bundesliga start

Boniface scored on his debut for the club in August in the DFB cup against Teutonia. he made his Bundesliga debut on August 19 against RB Leipzig. Although he didn't find the net, he provided an assist as they won 3-2.

The striker took off in the next few games. He bagged braces in each of his next two Bundesliga outings. In his first 10 Bundesliga matches, he registered 12 goals and assists.

In that run, Alonso's team won nine and was drawn once. That run of form showed they were ready to challenge the title.

"Victor's a real problem for opposition defences. He's powerful, quick and makes runs from deep. He has a good mentality and works for the team, not for himself," Xabo Alsonos said.

In August, Boniface became the second player to win both the Bundesliga Rookie of the Month and Player of the Month awards in the same month. Manchester City superstar, Erling Haaland was the first player to accomplish that feat.

Following his double against Heidenheim in September, he took home another Rookie of the Month award. Boniface was now eating at the big table in Europe.

He played in Leverkusen's first 16 matches before injury struck. He had 10 goals and eight assists.

Injury setback and return

He sustained an abductor injury just before the 2023 AFCON kicked off. Before he returned on April 6, he had not played a Bundesliga match since December 20.

While recovering from injury, Leverkusen adjusted in his absence and became an even more dangerous machine. The team won 10 and drew one while he was out, cementing their lead on top of the Bundesliga.

He played his first match on April 6 against Union Berlin, which they won 1-0 away from home. The German club secured a historic title in their next game, a 5-0 demolition of Werder Bremen.

Boniface scored the first goal to start their march to Bundesliga glory. Since his return, however, Alonso has used him sparingly, perhaps to manage his injury. With three matches to go, the young striker has a chance to improve stats.

On Wednesday, May 15, he became the first Leverkusen player to win the Rookie of the Season award.

The German club has wrapped up the Bundesliga, but they have a chance to secure two more silverware. They will face Atalanta in the Europa League final, and a few days later, they will clash with Kaiserslautern in the DFB Pokal final.

Boniface copies Kudus' celebration

Sports Brief also reported on Boniface hitting Mohammed Kudus' popular celebration after finding the net in Leverkusen's win over West Ham in the Europa League.

The 23-year-old centre-forward scored late as the German side edged the Hammers 2-0 in the first leg. Both sides drew 1-1 in the second leg.

Edwin Kiplagat photo
Edwin Kiplagat
Edwin Kiplagat has five years of experience in journalism working as a Sports Editor at Africa Insight Communications and ESPN. Edwin Kiplagat is a Bachelor's Degree holder in journalism from the Multimedia University of Kenya.