Family ties
"It is certainly the dream of every football-crazy father to play with his sons on the same team once. The day this happened to me will always be a very special memory."
Gerald Lasnik, father
Despite the interest of bigger teams from the Styrian capital, young Andreas Lasnik stuck to his roots and started playing football for his hometwon club Maria Lankowitz.  Along the way he was accompanied by his brother Martin, who would play a major role in the rapid development of the Styrian. "Although Andreas was six years younger, he always wanted to be better than his brother. Therefore, his tackling-skills have always been very strong and he hardly loses the ball now," says father Gerald Lasnik.

Martin Lasnik, who has made himself a name as a dangerous striker in the third Austrian league for Voitsberg and Köflach, is convinced that both brothers benefited from their rivalry. “It has made Andi become even more ambitious and it had the same affect on me. Even now, when we play golf or tennis, it is deadly serious, because each of us wants to be better," Martin Lasnik brings the memory back to life.

At the age of fourteen Andreas started training with the first team of Maria Lankowitz, at the age of fifteen he made his debut in the fifth Austrian division. Ironically, his coach at that point was his father Gerald. For him it was like walking a tightrope. "Andreas was technically better than the others and of course he showed it at practice. It is understandable that the older players weren`t amused by it and therefore they attacked him even harder. As a concerned parent, I sometimes thought about removing him from the training sessions, but thankfully nothing ever happened and so he could make the conversion to adult football faster than other players of his age. "

The family-highlight in the life of Andreas Lasnik occurred in 1999 when he was still with Maria Lankowitz: His coaching father had only eleven fit players in the squad for the away game in Grambach. Since one of them got injured, the then 43-year-old was forced to come on after the break. So he was standing on the pitch with his sons, Martin and Andreas. He even assisted Andreas a goal at the 4-2-win. "An experience that I am sure is not granted to many fathers," the former manager keeps on smiling years later.

The next logical step led Andreas Lasnik only a few miles further to Köflach, where he immediately achieved promotion to the third division in his first season. Also involved was his brother Martin, who had joined his new team a season earlier. But their paths should separate soon, because outstanding performance by Andreas followed and soon scouts were all over the place during his performances. It was the winter of 2002 and the time was right for Andreas Lasnik to leave the places of his youth behind.