The “Theatre of Dreams”
"Others give their international debut against Moldova and Latvia. But Old Trafford is a completely different story." Andreas Lasnik
In 2005, the events were piling up for the young Andreas Lasnik. First his goal against Gratkorn brought the Bundesliga back to Ried, then he hit the jackpot with his transfer to Austria Vienna where he instantly had a spot in the starting line-up. Could it get any better than that?

It could. On 30 October 2005, Willi Ruttensteiner was announced by the Austrian Football Federation as caretaking manager of the Austrian football national team, Andreas Herzog and Slavko Kovacic were named as his assistant coaches. One of their first decissions was to call up 21-year-old Andreas Lasnik in the squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against England and Northern Ireland. "The day on which I got the call was one of the best moments in my life," Lasnik admitts. After performing for Austria many times in youth teams that was the biggest reward he could get.

It was an advantage that Willi Ruttersteiner already knew Lasnik from his time as Under21-manager of Austria. So his opinion of the Styrian had always been a good one. "Andreas is an incredibly likeable guy and I have always enjoyed working with him. There are water-boys and real types and Andi Lasnik clearly belongs to the second because he always knew exactly what he wanted."

So it happened that Lasnik sat on the plane to England. It was the evening of October 8 2005 when he stepped on the pitch of the legendary “Old Trafford”-Stadium in Manchester and warmed up along experienced players such as Martin Stranzl, Paul Scharner and Markus Weissenberger. On the other side of the field he could see the stars of "Three Lions" Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen and ,of course, David Beckham. The player with whom he was compared so many times in the past.

"I had goose bumps when I sat down on the bench. 65,000 wanted to see England win and we wanted to represent ourselves as well as possible." His big moment came in the 80th minute as Ruttensteiner sent him into battle. Too late for a duel with Beckham, because the English superstar had been sent off in minute 59. Lasnik came on for Andreas Ibertsberger, who followed the remaining minutes of the game from the sideline and gave the Styrian a positive feedback. "He got into the game very fast and wanted to show his potential from the first second. So most attacks we had in the finish ran over on his side."

In the end Austria lost 0-1 to a strong English side. But young Lasnik had made an extraordinary experience he would not forget for the rest of his life.