Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

While many Tottenham Hotspur supporters reacted with an indifferent shrug to the drab 1-0 defeat at Pacos de Ferreira last night, one man’s distraction is another man’s dream. 

Spurs, of course, were Champions League finalists just two years ago. It’s understandable why some in north London aren’t frantically digging out their passport ahead of prospective midweek trips to Qarabag, Tallinn or Czestochowa. 

But while Tottenham’s involvement in the inaugural UEFA Conference League campaign feels like a reflection of how far the club has fallen, Union Berlin see the already maligned competition as a peak rather than a trough.

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In 2019, Union secured promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time in their history.

Two years later, via a remarkable seventh-place finish no-one saw coming, it’s starting to feel like a fairytale straight out of Hollywood.

Awoniyi could finally star in Berlin, away from the lights of Liverpool

A 4-0 thrashing of Finnish outfit KUPS last night means Urs Fischer’s side is almost certain to be playing European football in 2021/22 – another first for a club breaking new ground all the time.

And they will have Taiwo Awoniyi to thank as the striker signed from Liverpool in a club-record deal two months ago starts to repay his £5.5 million price tag. 

Awoniyi shone on loan at the picturesque, leafy green Stadion An der Alten Försterei last season.

And, since returning on a permanent basis, the Nigeria international has produced three goals and two assists in three games. His man of the match performance against KUPS is one that will go down in Union folklore.

Photo by Matthias Kern/Getty Images

His first goal of the night was brilliantly taken, a dart towards the near post followed by an inventive flicked finish.

The second, with his weaker left foot, was equally lethal – drilled into the corner after Awoniyi turned on a sixpence inside the 18-yard box. 

“It’s not done yet. We have to finish it in Berlin,” Awoniyi told Welt after the game, refusing to allow complacency to set in despite the emphatic nature of Union’s 4-0 win. 

If Union fans feel like they’re in Hollywood right now, Awoniyi has become their leading man.

Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

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