The Friday Bundesliga match this week pits the top two teams against each other as Bayern Munich host Bayer Leverkusen at the Allianz Arena. The clash also pits two of the league’s leading strikers against each other as Harry Kane and Victor Boniface look set to lead their respective team’s attack. Both are new arrivals to the Bundesliga and both have settled into life in Germany with apparent ease. Here we take a closer look at the two goalgetters….
Bayern’s pursuit of England captain Harry Kane was a long and drawn out affair with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy playing hardball in the negotiations with the Rekordmeister having to splash out a club record €100 million to secure his services. The second-highest goal scorer in Premier League history only had a year left on his contract, but such is his worth that the mammoth fee was justified by Bayern on the basis that they saw acquiring a number nine as an absolute priority.
The loss of Robert Lewandowski was compensated last year with Eric-Maxim Choupo Moting, but purchasing a world class striker was seen as a must as the Bavarians looked to re-establish their dominance following a near-miss with the Meisterschale last season.
Leverkusen also pinpointed certain positions to strengthen this summer and with Patrik Schick’s continued absence, they believed a central striker was required. Costing a fraction of Harry Kane’s fee, Victor Boniface was signed from Belgian side Union St. Gillioise for €20.5 million.
The Werkself had first-hand experience of the Nigerian striker last season when they faced him in the Europa League and were impressed enough with what they saw to beat off interest from a host of other clubs to secure his signature.
The season so far
Kane started his Bundesliga career with a debut goal away at Werder Bremen after having earlier provided the assist for Leroy Sané’s opener at the Weser Stadion. His first home appearance at the Allianz Arena saw him dispatch a penalty against Augsburg before adding a second later on to make it 3-0. He was however kept goalless in the 2-1 win over Gladbach.
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Victor Boniface arrived much earlier than Kane and has had a longer settling in period. After hitting goals in pre-season he bagged on in the 8-0 DFB Pokal win over Teutonia Ottensen and provided an assist on his Bundesliga debut against RB Leipzig. He scored his first goals with a brace at the Borussia Park against Mönchengladbach and repeated the feat with two more (and an assist) in the home win against Darmstadt.
The tale of the tape
What they’re saying
Thomas Tuchel: “He’s very strong in holding up the ball. He provides depth by being the focal point up front. And he always influences the defence, keeping them busy with his clever movement. He’s very smart in everything he does and incredibly precise.
“The way he trains, the way he steps onto the pitch… he’s so humble, he radiates joy in training and has so much quality as well. It’s so impressive. He will make every one of the players around him better by drawing so much attention to himself.”
Joshua Kimmich: “He is very good for our game because he’s a player who can both finish and put the other players in the limelight. I think our other attacking players will benefit a lot from Harry because he’s not a striker who just finishes, but also sets the stage for the others.
“He will give the others more space because the opponents have to focus on him due to his very big quality. Overall, he will do us a lot of good.”
Xabi Alonso: “It is my wish that every opponent has problems with Boniface. He does everything well. Not only with his game, he helps the team. He has a good connection with Grimaldo, with Florian Wirtz, and with Jonas Hofmann.
“Boniface wants to enjoy the game. But not just for himself. He’s not just a classic striker, not just a regular poacher. He’s complete. We are happy with him, he has scored four goals so far, but we expect more.”
Granit Xhaka: “Victor is a down-to-earth boy who is hungry for goals and successes. It’s only good for the team if you have someone up front who wants to score goals and celebrate success.
“That’s how you get better, how you make the team better, how you make yourself better. We’re glad we have someone like that with us.”