Dapo Afolayan is celebrating promotion to the Bundesliga with St Pauli – but he will be cheering Wanderers on against Oxford this weekend.

Afolayan bagged a brace against Osnabruck on Sunday, and also set up Marcel Hartel’s goal, as the side secured automatic promotion to the top flight.

It was a special moment for the 26-year-old, who headed overseas 18 months ago after impressing for the Whites.

“When I joined the club I saw what the fans are like, the history behind the club and everything it stands for,” he told talkSPORT.

“To go on the whirlwind run we have done in the last 18 months, culminating in promotion this season, it is special. Sunday was quite overwhelming.

“At first, I was a bit sceptical because you tend to see players younger than me going abroad and coming to Germany.

“There were a few (interested) clubs in the Championship at the time. My thing has always been that I want to test myself and take myself to the next level to see where I can play.

“It was a really good opportunity and I came about to visit. Once I met the manager (Fabian Hurzeler), at the time he was only 29 and when he spoke to me about how he wanted us to play, I was sold on the project."

The Bolton News: Afolayan could now come up against the likes of Harry Kane in the BundesligaAfolayan could now come up against the likes of Harry Kane in the Bundesliga (Image: PA) The former West Ham man has scored 10 times in 33 appearances for the German outfit since the start of the campaign.

“(Hurzeler) has been fantastic for me,” he continued. “He is really young but his football brain - and how he coaches - is the best I have seen.

“He has transformed us into a really good side. His attention to detail and the way he improves players – I think everyone has improved and that helped take us over the line this year.

“(The atmosphere) is special. Every single game I have been at has been sold out, tickets are hard to come by.

“If I see any Brits at the games, they tell me they have bought tickets years in advance and planned it. Not many teams like coming to play us and hopefully we can make it a fortress next season.”

Afolayan found the net 14 times during his last full season at Bolton, winning the club’s Player of the Year prize.

When asked about the transition to the German second tier, he replied: “To be honest, I was really shocked at how high the standard was.

“I have watched a lot of Championship games and thought it would be quite similar to that. European football is quite different, it is sometimes more tactical.

“There are a lot of different tactical nuances and that was the biggest thing for me, adapting and getting used to it.

“In League One football, there are so many different variable. You have got to think about pitches, weather conditions and physical teams.

“But here we go into a lot of tactical detail and video every single day. We watch teams back all the time and work on a lot of things.

“It is testament to the way we have played this year because we work tirelessly and everything is meticulous.”

Last month, Ian Evatt told The Bolton News about his pride seeing Afolayan having success at St Pauli and revealed plans to go and visit him.

The Bolton boss also confirmed that the Whites would receive a financial boost if Hurzeler’s side got over the line in their promotion push.

“The plan was for him to possibly come to the game (on Sunday) but obviously Bolton weren’t able to go up automatically, so they have the play-off final and are focused on that,” Afolayan explained.

“I spoke to him after the game and he said he was really happy for me. If I could come to Wembley I would be there, but we have one more league fixture on Sunday. I will be watching at home and supporting the boys.”

St Pauli will now get the chance to test themselves against the likes of Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen.

Afolayan is relishing the challenge ahead and hopes they can cause a few surprises along the way as they aim to build on promotion.

“Since I have been here, it has been amazing,” he said. “We have played at some great stadiums, we played at Schalke this year in front of 60,000.

“Playing against some of the big boys in Germany next year is going to be even more special and a great experience. I am excited for it and I think everyone in the team has the same feeling.”