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Victor Boniface was on target yet again as Bayer Leverkusen eased into the DFB Cup quarter-finals. - © Christof Koepsel
Victor Boniface was on target yet again as Bayer Leverkusen eased into the DFB Cup quarter-finals. - © Christof Koepsel

Bayer Leverkusen beat Paderborn to ease into DFB Cup quarter-finals


Victor Boniface scored yet again as Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen side eased into the DFB Cup quarter-finals with a 3-1 victory over Paderborn, although their joy was tempered by the sight of Florian Wirtz limping off with injury.

Leverkusen 3-1 Paderborn
Goals: 1-0 Boniface 12' (assist: Stanišić), 2-0 Palacios 28' (assist: Frimpong), 2-1 Klaas (82'), 3-1 Schick 88' (assist: Frimpong)

Bundesliga 2 side Paderborn started brightly at the BayArena in a bid to pull of an upset, but Alonso's charges shook off their early challenge to quickly assert control of the game. It did not take them long to break the deadlock, with Josip Stanišić crossing from the right for Boniface to sweep in his 14th competitive goal of the season. It was 2-0 before the half-hour mark as Alonso's attack-minded charges struck again, this time Exequiel Palacios finishing off from Jeremie Frimpong's delivery. Amine Adli also had a goal disallowed before the break as Die Werkself threatened to run away with it. The only sour note for the home side in the first half was Wirtz limping off with injury after being on the receiving end of a hefty tackle on his ankle.

Leverkusen had another goal chalked off early in the second period after Jonas Hofmann's tidy finish from a Boniface pass, but it didn't stand due to offside in the build-up. Frimpong later dragged a shot wide of the post as the hosts appeared in complete control but Paderborn substitute Sebastian Klaas gave them nervy final few minutes when he drilled in from inside the box after Leverkusen struggled to clear their lines. Any hopes of taking the game to extra time were short-lived though, as Patrik Schick made sure Leverkusen went through to the last eight with a poacher's finish shortly before the final whistle.

Match stats

  • Boniface leads the Leverkusen scoring chart with 14 across all competitions, followed by left wing-back Alejandro Grimaldo (nine). Adli and Hložek are top for cup goals with three apiece.
  • Since a 2-2 draw in the first meeting in 2014, Die Werkself have won all four encounters with Paderborn, including once in the DFB Cup in 2019/20.
  • That campaign was the last time Leverkusen reached the quarter-finals, going on to lose the final 4-2 to Bayern. As a player, Alonso reached the DFB Cup final once and won it in 2015/16.
  • Paderborn’s Filip Bilbija is the top scorer so far in this season’s DFB Cup with four goals.
  • Paderborn have won three of their last six DFB Cup encounters with Bundesliga clubs, also taking Dortmund to extra-time in 2020/21 and conceding in the 86th and 95th minute to lose 2-1 to Stuttgart at this stage last season.
  • Only twice before have Paderborn progressed beyond this stage to the quarter-finals, doing so under Steffen Baumgart in 2017/18 and 2018/19.


Leverkusen: Kovář - Stanišić, Andrich (c), Hincapié (Tapsoba 46') - Frimpong (Tella 90'+1), Palacios, Xhaka, Grimaldo - Wirtz (Hofmann 45'+3), Adli (Tah 76') - Boniface (Schick 75')
Unused subs: Hrádecký, Kossounou, Amiri, Hložek
Out: Arthur (thigh)
Coach: Xabi Alonso 

Paderborn: Boevink - Curda, Rohr (Heuer 20'), Hoffmeier - Obermair, Kinsombi (c), Muslia (Klaas 68'), Klefisch (Grimaldo 58'), Muslija - Ansah (Conteh 68'), Bilbija (Platte 58')
Unused subs: Schulz, Leipertz, Müller, Hansen
Out: Ezekwem (muscular), Huth (personal reasons)
Coach: Lukas Kwasniok

As it happened!

3 - 1

(2 - 0)

DFB Pokal
Round of 16
Round of 16 BayArena
+ 5

No it won't

It stays 3-1 to Leverkusen, who are now unbeaten in 21 matches this season, with 19 wins and two draws. They march into the quarter-finals!
+ 5

Will it count?

Kovář dives to his right to keep out Platte's low shot. Grimaldi turns in the loose ball, but there will be a check for offside...
+ 1

Leverkusen switch

Frimpong's been superb - he set up two of Bayer's three goals. Sotuhampton loanee Nathan Tella is on for the five allotted minutes of added time.


Schick's played in with only the keeper to beat, but the Bayer sub fires just the wrong side of the right-hand post.

Schick's back!

Surely lights out for Paderborn now. Xhaka slips a pass into the channel for Frimpong. His cross is measured to perfection, and there's Schick with a routine close-range finish for his first goal at the BayArena since February.
Patrik Schick

Paderborn halve the deficit!

Well, well. Conteh uses his pace to create an opening on the left. His cross finds Grimaldi, who sees his goal-bound effort cleared in front of the line by Tapsoba. Tah's clearance isn't the best; it's helped on to Klaas, who drives home from just inside the area. They couldn't, could they?
Sebastian Klaas


Saarbrücken are on for another giant-killing in the other early kick-off. The 3. Liga outfit, who knocked out Bayern in the previous round, now lead Frankfurt 2-0.

Paderborn chance

Grimaldi gets up to meet a cross from the left, but his downward header is off target.

Fresh legs

Schick replaces goalscorer Boniface in attack, while Tah is on for Adli. Andrich will move into his customary midfield role, after beginning the game at centre-back. Bayer's squad depth is going to be so important when Boniface & Co. head off on Africa Cup of Nations duty in the new year.




Leverkusen come again with Frimpong and Adli. Palacios runs from deep to take possession in the box, but can't get a shot off and his attempted back-heeled pass is put behind for a corner. Hofmann sends it in for Tapsoba, who sends a routine header straight at the keeper.


Leverkusen turn defence into attack in the blink of an eye. Adli drops it off for Frimpong in the box, with the Dutchman weaving left and right before dragging a shot wide of the far post.

Leverkusen in command

With a two-goal cushion and a huge Bundesliga fixture with third-placed Stuttgart to come, Leverkusen had dropped down a gear. They're dictating the play, without going all out for a third goal.

No penalty

Obermair tugs at Adli's shirt in the box. The Leverkusen attacker goes down, but nothing's given. He had already lost his footing and wasn't going to get the ball.

Attacking change

Kwasniok needs a spark, and he knows it. Can the two substitute strikers provide it?

Another disallowed goal!

Boniface shows a fabulous first touch on halfway to control a looping ball out from the back, before threading a pass into the run of Hofmann. Boevnik races out of his box, but the Bayer sub calmly knocks it round the keeper and slots into the unguarded net. However, after a lengthy VAR check, it's chalked off for offside.


Boniface has a back-post header blocked. He swipes at the rebound, with another Paderborn player getting in the way. The Bundesliga 2 outfit can't get out...


Leverkusen work it well for Grimaldo, who stings the palms of Boevink with a rising 18-yard drive. The ensuing corner falls for Frimpong, who drills wide from the edge of the D.

Under way again at the BayArena

Alonso was in the ear of Hofmann prior to the restart. Can the Germany man help Bayer see this through, or will Bundesliga 2's Paderborn find a way back?
+ 4

Half-time: Leverkusen 2-0 Paderborn

Wirtz's injury sours an otherwise brilliant first half from Alonso's team. Goals from Boniface and Palacios have them halfway towards the DFB Cup quarter-finals. Paderborn need a miracle...
+ 2

Kovar save!

Leverkusen's stand-in keeper does well to tip Muslija's teasing free-kick over the crossbar. Jonas Hofmann, meanwhile, has replaced the injured Wirtz.
+ 2



Time added on

Four additional minutes to be played at the BayArena. Wirtz is being helped down the tunnel...

Wirtz concern

Bayer's No.10 was caught on the ankle as he shifted a pass out to Grimaldo for that chance. He hobbles off, with a shake of the head in the direction of his coach suggesting he won't be able to continue.


Grimaldo slips a pass inside for Boniface, who shows his man a step-over before seeing a goal-bound shot blocked.

Disallowed goal

Adli slides in a third for Leverkusen after yet another slick passing move, but his celebrations are cut short. Boniface was offside in the build-up.

Alonso's way

Three shots, two goals for Leverkusen. They're irresistible right now. Hard to see anything but another win for Alonso's charges, who are on course to make it 21 games unbeaten in 2023/24.


Almost a third as Wirtz jinks into space and fires with from 18 yards. This could get ugly for the visitors.

Leverkusen strike again!

Another incisive move pays off for Bayer. The ball's won back inside the Paderborn half, with Palacios picking it up and sweeping a pass out to Frimpong before continuing his run. The Argentine collects the return ball outside the area and sweeps a fine finish into the bottom corner.

Bumper haul

Leverkusen's opener was Boniface's 14th goal of the season in all competitions. The Nigerian also has six assists.

Röhr injury

The Paderborn defender has pulled a hamstring, and heads straight for the tunnel.

Normal service resumed

Frimpong is straight back at it, running at Röhr. Relief for Bayer - the Dutchman's been massive for them this season.

Frimpong concern

The Leverkusen right-back is down, in real discomfort after stretching to control a long ball. The physios help him to his feet, though, and it looks like he'll try to run this off.

Leverkusen lead!

There it is! Wirtz plays a first-time pass out to Stanisic, whose inch-perfect cross from the right is expertly steered into the far corner by Boniface.
Victor Boniface

Counter chance

Paderborn break with Ansah, forcing Stanisic to concede a corner. It's delivered with pace, but Adli is able to collect at the far post and clear.

One-way traffic

Paderborn have everyone back in their own half as Leverkusen continue to attack in waves.

Leverkusen probing

Adli combines with Wirtz. The cross is aimed towards Frimpong on the penalty spot, but Paderborn get it clear.

Here we go!

Paderborn kick off, but Leverkusen are quick to win possession and go straight on the attack with Adli. A sign of things to come perhaps...

Teams out

Leverkusen are in black with a splash of red. Paderborn are in their change number of pale blue-green.

Hot streak

Bochum were the last team to beat Leverkusen in a competitive match, on the final day of last season. Since then, Bayer have won 18 and drawn two across fixtures in the Bundesliga, DFB Cup and UEFA Europa League.

More on those teams

Alonso makes five changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Dortmund. Goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky, preferred back three Odlion Kossounou, Jonathan Tah and Edmond Tapsoba, and winger Jonoas Hofmann drop to the bench. Matěj Kovář, Josip Stanišić, Robert Andrich, Piero Hincapié and Amine Adli are their respective replacements. Paderborn's Lukas Kwasniok brings in Vislar Musliu, Marco Schuster and David Kinsombi, with Laurin Curda, Mattes Hansen and Mortiz Flotho making way.

Leverkusen starting line-up

Kovář - Stanišić, Andrich (c), Hincapié - Frimpong, Palacios, Xhaka, Grimaldo - Wirtz, Adli - Boniface

Leverkusen subs

Hrádecký, Tah, Kossounou, Hofmann, Amiri, Tapsoba, Schick, Tella, Hložek

Paderborn starting line-up

Boevink - Curda, Rohr, Hoffmeier - Obermair, Kinsombi (c), Musliu, Klefisch, Muslija - Ansah, Bilbija

Paderborn subs

Schulz, Conteh, Leipertz, Müller, Hansen, Heuer, Klaas, Platte, Grimaldi

Leverkusen team news

Despite the large number of games coming Leverkusen's way, Xabi Alonso and Co. have so far been relatively fortunate with injuries. Right now, Arthur is the only absentee. Patrik Schick has spent the best part of 2023 in the treatment room, but he has come off the bench to score and assist a goal apiece in his last two substitute appearances and could be in line for a start here.

Paderborn team news

Niclas Nadj, Visar Misliu and Kimberly Ezekwem are amongst the absentees for the trip to the BayArena. Otherwise, though, head coach Lukas Kwasniok has a full squad to choose from as he goes in search of an almighty upset.

Cup pedigree

Leverkusen have been involved in four DFB Cup finals. While they have lost three, they were victorious in 1993, defeating Hertha Berlin's second string 1-0 to clinch the trophy. Paderborn, on the other hand, have reached the quarter-finals on two occasions, losing 6-0 to Bayern and 2-0 to Hamburg in 2017/18 and 2018/19 respectively.

Alonso's view of Paderborn

“They played really well with and without the ball [in the second round] against Freiburg, showed a mature performance. We can’t relax in this game but have to play with much more patience and control. We're expecting to face a good opponent. We played against them in a pre-season friendly in the summer. They’ve done very well in the cup."

Kwasniok's view of Leverkusen

"We've probably got the hardest game we could have got. But even so, we'll still get out opportunities, and when we do we'll need to be absolutely ruthless with them. A place in the quarter-finals is at stake. The good thing is that it starts at 0-0. We're the underdogs, no question." Wahrscheinlich haben wir das schwierigste Spiel. Aber auch für uns werden Gelegenheiten kommen, wir müssen dann eiskalt zuschlagen

Watch: Paderborn 1-4 Leverkusen - previous meeting

Leverkusen raced into a 3-0 lead after 36 minutes the last time the sides locked horns, on 19 January 2020, with each side subsequently scoring once after the interval. Of the players that featured that day, only Jonathan Tah and Lukas Hradecky remain in the Werkself squad.


History is on Leverkusen's side in this fixture. The teams have met five times previously in competitive action, and they drew 2-2 in the first of those - a Bundesliga game in October 2014. Leverkusen won each of the subsequent three top-flight match-ups though (3-0, 3-2, 4-1), and also earned a 1-0 victory in the DFB Cup second round in 2019/20.

Watch: Paderborn 1-0 Hannover 96

Recap how Paderborn warmed up for this fixture with a 90th-minute winner at home to Hannover on Sunday.

Paderborn's story so far

Paderborn, currently 10th in Bundesliga 2, reached this stage of the competition after beating fourth-tier side Energie Cottbus 8-0 in the first round. They followed that up with an impressive 3-1 victory in Freiburg in the second round at the start of November,.

Watch: Leverkusen 1-1 Dortmund

See how Leverkusen preserved their unbeaten record at the weekend as Victor Boniface salvaged a draw against Dortmund.

Leverkusen's story so far

Xabi Alonso's charges are unbeaten in all competitions this season. In addition to sitting top of the Bundesliga standings and having already secured their place in the UEFA Europa League knockout rounds, they have advanced to the last 16 of the cup thanks to victories over Teutoia Ottensen (8-0) and Sandhausen (5-2) in the first two rounds.

Hello and welcome!

Thanks for joining us for build-up and live match coverage of this DFB Cup last-16 fixture between a red-hot Leverkusen side and Bundesliga 2 outfit Paderborn.