Striker Victor Boniface is facing a comeback in Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen’s cup semi-final against Fortuna Düsseldorf on Wednesday (8.45 p.m./ZDF and Sky).

The Nigerian, who has not played a minute in 2024 due to an adductor injury, will definitely be back in the squad against the third-place team in the second division.

“Boni is in the squad,” said coach Xabi Alonso the day before the game: “I don’t know how long he can play. Not 90 minutes, maybe not 45, but maybe 30. He has completed a great rehab. He has a strong mentality and can’t wait to get back on the pitch.” With ten goals in the Bundesliga and 16 in all competitions, Boniface is still Leverkusen’s top scorer this season.

From Alonso’s point of view, the semi-final against Düsseldorf offers Bayer “a great opportunity” and reaching the final “a great motivation”. But the coach also has great respect for the second division team. He also had penalty shoot-outs trained, just in case. “That can be a scenario. We are prepared for anything,” said Alonso: “We want to win the game in 90 minutes, but anything can happen.” Of course he accepts the role of favorite, “but it means nothing. We have to be better on the pitch. And if we’re not better, we’re out.”

The expected lineups:

Bayer Leverkusen: Kovar – Kossounou, Tah, Tapsoba – Frimpong, Andrich, Xhaka, Grimaldo – Adli, Wirtz – Schick

Fortuna Düsseldorf: Kastenmeier – Zimmermann, Hoffmann, Oberdorf, Iyoha – Engelhardt, Tanaka – Klaus, Johannesson, Appelkamp – Tzolis

Referee: Christian Dingert (Lebecksmühle)