Super Eagles forward, Victor Boniface, is set to embark on a mission to replicate his stellar performance from last season’s Europa League campaign with Bayer Leverkusen. The German club kicks off their group-stage journey with a home match against Swedish champions Hacken at the Bay Arena on Thursday.
Boniface made waves in the Europa League last season, sharing the top scorer title with Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, scoring six goals in 10 games. This impressive feat was part of his overall tally of 22 goals and 12 assists in 55 competitive appearances for Union Saint Gilliose.
The 22-year-old Nigerian, who joined Bayer Leverkusen from Belgian side Royal Union Saint Gilliose over the summer, is determined to continue his goal-scoring form on the European stage. So far this season, he has netted five goals and provided two assists in various competitions.
In the upcoming match, Boniface will be eager to display his scoring prowess, especially after going scoreless in two previous outings against RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich.
Meanwhile, at Ibrox Stadium, Cyriel Dessers is expected to lead the Glasgow Rangers’ attack in the absence of the injured Danilo when they face Real Betis. Dessers, who joined Rangers this summer, has contributed two goals and three assists in nine games. He aims to open his Europa League goal account and break a five-game goal drought across all competitions.
Chuba Akpom, another Nigerian talent, is seeking his fourth appearance in the competition as Ajax hosts Olympique Marseille at Johan Cruijff Arena. Since his move to the Dutch club from Middlesbrough in the summer, Akpom has mainly featured as a substitute, making just two appearances.
Ajax won their first Europa League qualifying tie, defeating Ludogorets 4-2 on aggregate in the play-offs, but they have struggled recently, recording a draw and two losses in their last three games in all competitions.
Finally, at Gewiss Stadium in Italy, Ademola Lookman is expected to make his eighth appearance in the competition when Atalanta takes on Rakow Czestochowa, who are putting their unbeaten run on the line. Lookman, who scored for Atalanta in their recent 3-2 defeat to Fiorentina, will be eager to continue his impressive form and add to his goal tally in the Europa League. This match marks Atalanta’s return to European competition after their last appearance in the 2021/2022 Europa League quarter-finals against RB Leipzig.