Super Eagles take center stage as Union Berlin tackle Nottingham Forest

Bundesliga campaigners and Premier League debutants will lock horns in what is the famous Nigeria international’s unofficial farewell game

Super Eagles striker Taiwo Awoniyi will be the star of the show when Nottingham Forest trade tackles with Union Berlin in a pre-season friendly at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei in Berlin on Saturday.

This stadium is the traditional home of Union Berlin, and until July 1 it was the home ground of former Liverpool player Awoniyi.

Awoniyi left Anfield last summer to join Union Berlin on a club record and quickly became a darling of many Berliners.

The 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup winner scored 15 Bundesliga goals to help the Iron Ones qualify for the Europa League.

Premier League newcomers Nottingham Forest had seen enough of the former loanee from Mouscron to be convinced he was the man to lead their survival challenge next season.

And the Reds wasted no time in breaking their €20.50million transfer record to secure Awoniyi and sign him on a five-year deal.

In this deal, this unofficial farewell match will bring Awoniyi back to the stage where he finally made his European breakthrough.

The encounter will also serve as a rehearsal for Union Berlin’s DFB Cup clash at Chemnitzer FC on August 1.

The man of the moment

Awoniyi has spent the last three weeks in England, and Union Berlin fans, players and officials are eager to reunite with the Nigerian striker.

“I’m curious what Taiwo has learned at Nottingham in recent weeks. Nottingham have invested well in the transfer market,” Germany centre-back Robin Knoche said, according to N-TV.

“And I’m also delighted with the personal touch that we can fight another duel with Taiwo Awoniyi. We want to have a good feeling for the cup game in Chemnitz.

Union Berlin manager Urs Fischer has guided Awoniyi to score 25 goals in 65 competitive games for the Irons over the past two years.

And the 56-year-old Swiss tactician has some nice words to say about the Super Eagles star.

“I’m always happy to see Taiwo. He was extremely important for our game,” Fischer said.

Awoniyi was on parade as Nottingham Forest beat city rivals Union Hertha BSC 3-1 on Wednesday.

And the 24-year-old will be looking to show his former team-mates what he has learned in England since leaving.

Keith P. Plain