African players abroad Victor Boniface returns as Bayer 04 beat Fortuna Dusseldorf to reach final

Nigeria international Victor Boniface returned from injury as Bayer 04 beat Fortuna Dusseldorf 4-0 in the semi-final of the DFB Pokal to reach the final for the first time in four years.

An early goal by Jeremie Frimpong (8′) opened the scoring for the Werkself, who were dominant right from the kick-off. Amine Adli (20′) and Florian Wirtz (36′) extended the lead in the first half, before Wirtz wrapped things up with a penalty (60′) to make it 4-0.

Head coach Xabi Alonso’s team will now battle it out in the final against 1. FC Kaiserslautern at Berlin’s Olympiastadion on 25 May. Compared to the 2-1 win against TSG Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga, head coach Xabi Alonso made three changes to the starting XI for the DFB Pokal semi-final.

Matej Kovar started between the posts, Josip Stanisic replaced Piero Hincapie in the three-man back line and Amine Adli began up front. Jonas Hofmann initially looked on from the bench – as did returnees Exequiel Palacios and Victor Boniface. The latter was back in the matchday squad for the first time in this calendar year.

The first chance came after just five minutes when Alejandro Grimaldo crossed from the left, but both Patrik Schick and Jeremie Frimpong just failed to connect in the centre. Just three minutes later, the Werkself launched their next attempt.

Granit Xhaka passed to Schick in the penalty area, who threaded the ball on to Frimpong in a half-right position, and he hammered it under the crossbar with real conviction, giving Bayer 04 an early 1-0 lead.

After the opener, the Black and Reds continued to look alert and hungry for more goals, and it didn’t take long for captain Jonathan Tah and Co. to add to their tally. After winning the ball impressively in their own penalty area, the hosts broke free from their opponents’ pressing.

Florian Wirtz then launched a counter-attack and fed Amine Adli, who was rushing forward out left. The winger netted with a low finish to make it 2-0 (21′) – Adli’s fifth goal in the current cup competition. This makes the 23-year-old the top scorer in the current DFB Pokal campaign.

There was more good news five minutes later when Boniface came on for Schick, marking the striker’s comeback after a long injury lay-off. His last appearance in a Leverkusen jersey was on 20 December last year, and he promptly made his presence felt. The Nigerian powered his way through and found Frimpong, but the Dutchman missed (84′).

Dennis Mabuka

Dennis Mabuka is a seasoned Kenyan journalist with 18 years of experience covering sports events. He is currently a sport content creator with

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