How are Nigerian players in Germany faring ahead of Bundesliga restart?
A look at Anthony Ujah, Taiwo Awoniyi, Jamilu Collins and Kingsley Ehizibue ahead of Bundesliga restart.
Ahead of the restart of Germany’s top division, we look at the four Nigerian players in the Bundesliga; how they have been faring so far this season and what to expect from them.
1. Anthony Ujah (FC Union Berlin)
Anthony Ujah’s return to German football from China has not gone according to plan. After a short stay with his former side Mainz, the Nigerian striker joined newly-promoted FC Union Berlin at the start of the 2019/2020 season.
The 29-year-old, however, has not played a huge part in FC Union Berlin’s productive debut season in the top flight.
This season, Ujah has had to play second fiddle to Sweden's Sebastian Andersson and has been substituted 10 times in 16 Bundesliga appearances with only six starts. The Nigerian has just two goals to his name.
Ujah is not expected to see more game time than he has gotten as long as Andersson continues with his good form.
The Sweden international has 11 goals this season, of which six have come from his head which is more than any player across Europe’s top five leagues. He has also won the most duels won of any player both in the air and on the ground.
Andersson will however not be available for Berlin’s trip to leaders Bayern Munich which could allow Ujah to get another game time.
For the rest of the season, Ujah would have to take his chances if they come as the Die Eisernen aim for an unlikely Europa League-place finish.
Taiwo Awoniyi (Mainz)
Rated because of his affiliation with Liverpool, Taiwo Awoniyi has been a complete disappointment at German side Mainz.
Awoniyi endured a nightmare debut in August 2019 when he came off the bench with just minutes to go and still had time to concede a penalty in a 3-0 home loss to Freiburg.
It has not gotten better since then as he managed just six appearances in the league. He has barely played since he missed a fine chance in a 1-0 loss to Fortuna Dusseldorf in October. In that game, which has been his only start this season, he was hooked at half-time and barely played since then.
As the Bundesliga season restarts, Awoniyi now has his future to play for to get back to reckoning.
Jamilu Collins (FC Paderborn)
Despite the struggles of FC Paderborn this season, Jamilu Collins has been impressive. Alongside German forward Dennis Srbeny and tireless ball-winning midfielder Sebastian Vasiliadis, Collins has been one the best players for FC Paderborn this season.
The Nigerian left-back has started 21 of FC Paderborn’s 25 league games although he hasn’t been able to stop the rot in his side.
Paderborn currently sit 10 points adrift of safety at the bottom and their bottom-of-the-table clash against Fortuna Düsseldorf could be the nail in the coffin for them.
It could also give them a lift if they get a win which would see them get three points off another relegation-threatened side.
Collins has a big role to play for Paderborn for the rest of the season.
Kingsley Ehizibue (Köln)
After a turbulent start to the season which cost them their former manager Achim Beierlorzer, Köln’s fortunes have changed with Markus Gisdol at the helm.
The change of fortune also applies for Kingsley Ehizibue who had a tough start in German after his move from Dutch club PEC Zwolle.
Ehizibue has played in 23 of Köln’s 25 league games so far this season, missing two games due to a suspension following a red card for a foul on Bayern Munich’s Philippe Coutinho.
Since then, the right-back has impressed especially during a run of eight wins in 11 games under new manager Gisdol. A solid defender, Ehizibue currently has won more tackles (47) more than any other player in the Bundesliga.
It is that form that earned him his first Super Eagles call-up in March after acquiring his Nigerian passport.
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