The Nigerian striker announced himself in Germany with eye-catching football and helped his team to victory as the Bundesliga resumed.
Victor Boniface bagged an assist, had a header saved and hit two shots off target as he started his first Bundesliga game for new club Bayer Leverkusen against RB Leipzig on Saturday.
The game ended 3-2 in favour of the hosts, who kicked off their campaign with victory against the reigning German Cup champions at the Bay Arena.
Leverkusen bought Boniface from Belgian side Royal Union Saint Gilloise for 20 million euros this summer, after he impressed coach Xabi Alonso during their Europa League clash last season.
On this warm afternoon in Germany’s North Rhine Westphalia region, the Nigerian provided his team’s first goal after receiving a lob from Granit Xhaka and then meandering his way to cross into the box for Jeremie Frimpong to shoot past Janis Blaswich on 24 minutes.
It was the hosts’ first real chance at goal, and they made it count, with the Nigerian playing the creator and sending the home crowd into celebratory mood. There were 29,464 in attendance as the league resumed.
Boniface’s confidence picked up afterwards. He made a no-look pass that got the crowd screaming as television replays lapped it up. On his Bundesliga debut, he showed that he’s not afraid of turning on the style when needed.
It’s the opening weekend of the Bundesliga and I am at Bayer Leverkusen to watch the game against RB Leipzig.
Nigerian striker Victor Boniface moved from Saint Gilloise in Belgium this summer. I saw him play at Easter against Ghent.
— Lolade Adewuyi (@Jololade) August 19, 2023
Defender Jonathan Tah made it 2-0 with a header from a corner kick 10 minutes later to give the hosts a comfortable lead.
Boniface got his first attempt on target on 37 minutes from a header, but Blaswich scooped it safely.
Leipzig carved their way back into the game with a Dani Olmo header on 40 minutes off a corner kick. The visitors seemed like they would bring the game level as they surged forward.
But the hosts held on and increased the lead in the second half when Florian Wirtz scored a 64th minute lob over Blaswich to make it 3-1.
Leipzig coach Marco Rose made a raft of changes up front and brought on Yussuf Poulsen for Timo Werner. This led to greater urgency in their attack, which eventually led to Löis Openda’s 70th minute goal.
But Leverkusen held on for an opening day victory to set a positive tone for their campaign in which Boniface will hope to create greater impact.
He already opened his goals account when he scored once in last weekend’s German Cup first round 8-0 win against Teutonia Ottensen.