New striker Borja Iglesias aims to help Leverkusen stay top

Leverkusen will be looking to bounce back with a win at bottom club Darmstadt 98 to make amends for their goalless draw against Borussia Moenchengladbach last week

Reuters
Published : 1 Feb 2024, 06:51 PM
Updated : 1 Feb 2024, 06:51 PM

Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen's new signing Borja Iglesias is ready to boost their attack in the absence of injured striker Victor Boniface, and his arrival could not have been better timed with Bayern Munich awaiting them on Feb. 10.

Leverkusen will be looking to bounce back with a win at bottom club Darmstadt 98 on Saturday to make amends for their goalless draw against Borussia Moenchengladbach last week.

Their lead over second-placed Bayern has been cut to two points and they will want to preserve that gap going into the crunch match against Bayern.

With the title race looking increasingly like a two-horse race as Bayern are 10 points ahead of third-placed VfB Stuttgart, Leverkusen know they cannot afford to drop points on Saturday.

"Until the season ends it is still a long, hard way," said 31-year-old Spaniard Iglesias, who joined on a loan deal from Real Betis until the end of the campaign. 

"We are taking one step after the other. First of all I am looking forward to the game against Darmstadt on the weekend and then the coming weeks in Leverkusen."

Boniface, who had scored 10 goals in 16 league games, will be out of action for at least three months after undergoing surgery on an adductor muscle injury he picked up while preparing with Nigeria for the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this month.

Leverkusen urgently need Iglesias' efficacy in front of goal, having failed to score against Gladbach despite having 28 goal attempts compared to their opponents' four.

"This is an ambitious team that wants to achieve something," Iglesias said. "I will give my best to help this team."

Often derided as lacking a winning mentality and nicknamed 'Neverkusen' for their inability to win titles, Leverkusen are unbeaten in 28 consecutive matches across all competitions this season.

The Bavarians, who take on Gladbach on Saturday, have their own injury concerns and have reinforced their depleted backline with fullback Sacha Boey from Galatasaray on a contract until 2028.

Bayern have also finalised the signing of attacking midfielder Bryan Zaragoza from Granada on a loan deal until the end of the season and then a contract to 2029.

Third-placed Stuttgart will look to stay ahead of Borussia Dortmund with victory at Freiburg. Dortmund, who are one point behind in fourth, are in action on Friday at Heidenheim.