Taiwo Awoniyi’s first-ever DFB Pokal goal saves Union Berlin from Mannheim embarrassment

The Nigerian international hit the mark in the German Cup for the first time precisely six years after he made his bow in the competition for Frankfurt

Taiwo Awoniyi was yet again one of the star performers as Union Berlin powered to a 3-1 extra-time time win over Waldorf Mannheim at the Carl-Benz-Stadion in a DFB Pokal clash on Thursday evening.

The Super Eagles striker’s goal, sandwiched between a Kevin Behrens brace, gave the Iron Ones the lead four minutes into the opening half of extra time and guided Urs Fischer’s men into the next round of the German Cup.

It was, however, a victory that was not as straightforward as the final scoreline may suggest.

Flying high in fifth on the Bundesliga table, Union Berlin were expected to stroll past the 3.Liga side, but the home side did not receive the memo and struck first through Rossipal after just four minutes.

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Behrens equalised for Union in the 18th minute, but despite the introduction of Awoniyi in the second half, the visitors could not find a way past their hosts in regulation time.

Awoniyi then showed why he is one of the most in-form strikers in Germany at the moment when he found the net barely five minutes into extra time to hand the Iron Ones the advantage for the first time in the clash. Behrens added a third three minutes before full-time. 

Awoniyi’s goal was his seventh in his last six consecutive games and 12th in all competitions for Urs Fischer’s side this term.

Even more significantly, it is Awoniyi’s first-ever goal in the German Cup, coming in his fourth appearance in the competition. The 24-year-old made his debut in the competition for Frankfurt while on loan from Liverpool on October 27, 2015, in a 2-1 extra-time defeat to Hertha Berlin.

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The victory sees Union Berlin avoid the embarrassment of getting knocked out of the DFB Pokal by a team two divisions below them while also guaranteeing their spot in the competition’s Round of 16.