Victor Boniface, Tella – 2nd Nigerians to win Bundesliga

Victor Boniface, Tella – 2nd Nigerians to win Bundesliga
Photo by Icon Sport

It has been a glorious first season for Victor Boniface and Nathan Tella. The two Nigerians are on the cusp of history with Bayer Leverkusen.

What a script it has been for the duo of Victor Boniface and Tella, who incidentally got their first invites to the Super Eagles this season.

Without mincing words, they have done well for their club this season and will see their names etched in gold whenever there is talk of Leverkusen in the Bundesliga.

After several near misses in the Bundesliga, Die Werkself are about to break the hoodoo that has dogged them, and their Spanish coach, Xabi Alonso, can beam with satisfaction as the architect of their first Bundesliga title.

Victor Boniface and Tella will also share the glory as the club is three points away from glory.

Victor Boniface & Tella are on the cusp of becoming the 2nd Nigerians to win the Bundesliga

Nathan Tella and Victor Boniface on the cusp of league title
Photo by Icon Sport

Nigerians have a rich history with the Bundesliga, but only one Nigerian has won the league title. Victor Boniface, who just returned from an injury that has kept him out of action since January, is still struggling for another goal.

Sunday Oliseh is the only Nigerian to win the Bundesliga. He achieved the feat with Borussia Dortmund during the 2001-02 season. Since the achievement, no Nigerian has come close to winning the league.

With Bayern Munich, who have held the league in a chokehold for the past ten seasons, floundering this term, Bayer Leverkusen has grabbed the league by the scruff and dominated in a fashion last seen during the reign of Pep Guardiola in 2015-16 with Bayern Munich.

Victor Boniface and Tella will become only the second Nigerians to win the Bundesliga, and it could happen as early as next Saturday.

Many Nigerians that have played in the Bundesliga, but failed to win the league include, Obafemi Martins (VfL Wolfsburg – 2009–10), Peter Ogaba (MSV Duisburg – 1993–94), Chinedu Obasi (1899 Hoffenheim, Schalke 04 – 2008–15), Taribo West (1. FC Kaiserslautern – 2001–02) and Pascal Ojigwe (1. FC Kaiserslautern, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia M'gladbach – 1997–99, 2000–04).

Others are Victor Ikpeba (Borussia Dortmund – 1999–2001), Victor Agali (Hansa Rostock, Schalke 04 – 1998–2004, 2007–08), Joseph Akpala (Werder Bremen – 2012–13) and Jonathan Akpoborie (Hansa Rostock, VfB Stuttgart, VfL Wolfsburg – 1995–2001).

Victor Boniface and Tella are on the cusp of history, and they play massive roles in rewriting the story of a club that has laboured without success in years past.

A record-breaking season for Victor Boniface and Bayer Leverkusen

record-breaking season for victor boniface and xabi alonso
Photo by Icon Sport

It is satisfying for many Nigerians to see their Landsmann win the Bundesliga. The script for Leverkusen must have been written in the stars, for it is a fairytale that is ending on the sweetest note.

For the record, Die Werkself is the only side in the top five European leagues that is still unbeaten. Their 0-1 win over Union Berlin made it their 28th league game without a loss. It equalled the record set by Pep Guardiola in the 2015-16 season.

Leverkusen could be champions if the Bavarians lose to FC Cologne on Saturday.

It means Bayern would be mathematically unable to catch Leverkusen, who have a 16-point lead on them with five games to go. However, should Bayern win or draw, Leverkusen will have to match their result in the minimum when they go against Werder Bremen on Sunday to become champions.

Victor Boniface has also enjoyed a record-breaking first season at Leverkusen. He announced his arrival into the Bundesliga by winning the Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month in the first thirty days of the season.

He followed that feat with another three Rookie of the Month awards to beat the former record of three consecutive awards.

Victor Boniface, who several clubs want would like to seal the title for his German side on Sunday with a goal.

Going by their record of not losing any game this season (In the Bundesliga, German Cup and the Europa League), it should be safe to say congratulations ahead of the epoch event on Sunday.

The question now is – can Victor Boniface and Xabi Alonso inspire Leverkusen to a unique treble?

This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter. Chooka has a passion for football and has been a fan of Enugu Rangers (over 30 years) and Real Madrid (Since 1996).