In the absence of key strikers Joel Pohjanpalo, Anthony Ujah and now Max Kruse, Awoniyi has been given a key role in the Union attack of late, and the Nigerian is repaying Urs Fischer’s faith.
The 23-year-old Liverpool loanee is on a run of six consecutive starts in the Bundesliga, and in that time he has scored four goals and laid on an assist.
His latest strike came on Friday night, in a 2-1 victory over Dortmund that maintained Union’s excellent start to the season, reducing the gap between the two sides to just one point.
With the score tied at 0-0 heading towards the hour mark, Awoniyi broke the deadlock with a close-range header after Grischa Promel had knocked on a corner – making amends for a big missed chance in the first half.
Awoniyi did, however, give the ball away in then buildup to Youssoufa Moukoko’s record-breaking equaliser soon after, with the Dortmund striker becoming the youngest-ever Bundesliga goalscorer at 16 years and 28 days.
Marvin Friedrich’s header sealed the win for Union in the 78th minute, with the Berlin side sitting sixth after 13 games of their second campaign ever in the top flight.
The club’s official Twitter paid tribute to the influence of Awoniyi after the game, hailing the striker for “three amazing performances” of late.
We are so proud of you tonight. Three amazing performances when we have injuries in that position. What a hero!
From Imperial Academy to Union! ????? pic.twitter.com/eTKwOnCYI8
— 1. FC Union Berlin (@fcunion_en) December 18, 2020
Speaking to brila.net, Awoniyi outlined his target of a place in the Nigeria national team, saying “the pride to wear the national colours is massive” and “when it’s my time I’ll take the opportunity.”
The Reds loanee’s form at Union will certainly boost his chances, as will it improve the likelihood of him receiving a work permit upon his return to Liverpool next year, albeit with a permanent exit possible ahead of 2021/22.
Having helped Blackburn to a 2-1 win over Rotherham with his second consecutive goal in midweek, Elliott and his Rovers team-mates drew a blank in a 1-0 loss to Stoke.
Wilson and Ojo both started as Cardiff took on league leaders Norwich, and they were powerless to thwart a 2-0 victory for the Canaries, though Wilson should have recorded an assist as Kieffer Moore headed his point-blank header at Michael McGovern at 1-0.
It was another cameo role for Marko Grujic at Porto as he came off the bench for the final 12 minutes of a 2-0 win over Nacional that kept his side within two points of table-toppers Sporting CP.
The Serbian has only played 424 minutes since joining the Portuguese club on loan, for an average of 38.6 minutes on the pitch per outing.
After a difficult run of form with AGF Aarhus, Grabara made it back-to-back clean sheets in Denmark as his side sealed a big 3-0 victory over AaB Aalborg.
The Pole had previously shut out Horsens in the Danish Cup in midweek, but this served as his first clean sheet in the Superliga since October, and only his second in 10 league games this season.
It was a disappointing weekend for Loris Karius, Morgan Boyes and Adam Lewis, who all remain on the periphery at their respective clubs, while Ben Woodburn was also unused as Blackpool drew 0-0 at Accrington Stanley.
Liverpool Loan Watch Roundup
- Taiwo Awoniyi (Union Berlin) – 86 mins vs. Dortmund, goal
- Harvey Elliott (Blackburn) – 90 mins vs. Stoke
- Harry Wilson (Cardiff) – 90 mins vs. Norwich
- Sheyi Ojo (Cardiff) – 77 mins vs. Norwich
- Marko Grujic (Porto) – 12 mins vs. Nacional
- Kamil Grabara (AGF Aarhus) – 90 mins vs. AaB Aalborg, clean sheet