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It's time we took scalp -- Andrews

IT'S BEEN 11 years and one month since Ireland's last competitive win over a major footballing nation.

There are just five days before Germany, currently ranked second in the world, 26 places ahead of the Republic of Ireland, come to town and Keith Andrews, who was just starting out in his career as a professional footballer at the time of our last big win, against Holland in 2001, says it's time to end that run.

Three World Cup qualifying points are at stake when the Germans come to Dublin 4 on Friday night but for Andrews, it's a scalp that he's after.

He's played against major nations like Italy, France, Spain and Russia and has never finished on the winning side against them in a competitive match, so the Bolton Wanderers man has earmarked this coming Friday as the day when Ireland can finally cause an upset.

"We have had some good performances, especially away from home, we had some draws that were good results and we had the game in Paris, but it would be nice to give a big performance, take the scalp of a big nation," Andrews told the Herald as the Ireland squad, harried by injury worries over key players like Glenn Whelan, Sean St Ledger and James McClean, arrived in Dublin last night ahead of the first training session of the week at their Malahide base today.

"We have to go into the game looking to win it, we can't go into Friday thinking that a draw will do us. We want to get out of this group and qualify for the World Cup, that's why it was so important to win that game in Kazakhstan last month.

"We will have to roll up our sleeves and go back to an old-school performance, getting in their faces. It's about time we caused an upset, especially as we haven't done that at the new Lansdowne Road. It will take that old-school attitude, us getting at Germany and giving the fans something to cheer about.

"Going into this double header against Germany and the Faroes we know it's a challenge, they are two very different games but they're both difficult for different reasons.

"We will respect the Germans but we have to go into that game expecting to beat them.

"So it's a case of rolling up the sleeves and giving the fans the performance that's needed. We need to get them excited, we know that the last few months haven't been ideal for our fans so Friday is a chance to get them going," added Andrews, who has said that he was on the terraces in Lansdowne Road when Ireland beat Holland 1-0 11 years ago.

"It goes without saying that they're a very tough opposition, they seem to qualify at a canter for every competition.

"During the summer, when Shay Given had that niggly injury, he went to see Dr Muller-Wolfhart, the world-famous doctor over there and he just couldn't get over the level of professionalism over there. Simple things -- they have 23 bikes, 23 cross trainers, 23 of everything, they completely overhauled the hotel they use. They seem to have limitless finance available to them and it's a different world

"Germany are one of the best international squads around, with so many players in the Champions League, players at clubs like Real Madrid.

"It's one of the toughest games we'll have faced, for me personally it will be one of the biggest challenges I'll have had outside of the finals. Germany were a bit unlucky not to advance at the Euros."

The Dubliner says he's enjoying his recall to international duty after a three-month absence: suspended for the opening game of the World Cup qualifiers in Kazakhstan last month, he was left out of the squad for the August friendly in Serbia as Trapattoni wanted to fine-tune his preparations for Kazakhstan with the players available to him, and then an injury meant that Andrews was unable to take part in the friendly win over Oman in London.

"I am just delighted to be back involved again because it feels like an eternity since I was with the lads in the squad in Poland. I know we had a friendly in August but with me being suspended for the Kazakhstan game the manager said it was best to leave me out for the Serbia game and let me focus on my club form.

"I was due to come in for the Oman game last month but I had a problem with my Achilles and thankfully that's cleared up," says Andrews, who featured for Bolton in their Championship defeat away to Millwall on Saturday.

"They have fantastic players, like Schweinsteiger and Ozil, Khedira, they have an abundance of talent there with some of the best midfielders in the world."

A one-match suspension for his red-card offence in the final game at Euro 2012 meant that Andrews had to sit out the game in Astana last month, and he admits he didn't enjoy his spectator's role.

"I needed a bit of treatment on a niggle around the time of the Kazakhstan game so I had a few days off and managed to get home to Dublin. It was the first time in four or five years that I had a good bit of time off to spend at home in Dublin so I just watched the game with some family," he says.

"It wasn't great viewing, I was a nervous wreck watching it, but we got there in the end and got the result that we needed. Of course we will need to do better against the Germans but I think we have that big performance, that big night, within us."


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