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'Belief is there to stun German giants'

INSTEAD of taking on Ross County and Queen of the South in the lower reaches of Scottish football, Dubliner James Chambers has earned himself a chance to take a crack at a Bundesliga side this week.

And the former Shamrock Rovers man says that his experience of facing up to Juventus in Europe two years ago has left him in no doubt that Hannover 96 will not simply glide past St Patrick's Athletic and into the play-off round of the Europa League.

"This is what you look forward to, pitting your wits against the best and we're not afraid of what's ahead of us tomorrow or in the away game next week," Chambers told the Evening Herald.

"I think this tie will be a bit like the Juventus games from when I was with Rovers. That was a strange one for us as it was the first time in years that an Irish club had played a massive side like Juve so it was all new to us.

"Now I am more experienced and I think that Pat's as a club and as a team are ready for it as well. From a personal point of view, I loved playing against Juventus and even though they beat Rovers 2-0 in Dublin and 1-0 in Italy, they didn't walk all over us.

"The second leg in Italy was very close as a game, though Juve probably had the tie won with the 2-0 win in Dublin. But I have learned lessons from that and I think this team will be capable of standing up to them.

"We are in with a shout because this Pat's team is set up to play European football.

"We have shown that with the results this season. The players we have are capable of playing the European game, and we don't fear Hannover by any means.



household

"It's a great game for us to have. I know Hannover wouldn't be a household name like Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund but they're still a massive club. They got to the quarter-finals of the Europa League last year so they are a decent side and they'll have good players. They have a number of internationals in their squad so it's a big step up for us."

Manager Liam Buckley (right) and the St Pat's coaching staff will have the players well prepared for their opponents but Chambers and other players have been doing their own homework. "You have the odd look at Hannover on YouTube and stuff like that, just to get an idea, and they are a very decent side, you can see that from the clips we've seen," he says.

"But we will be well prepared. With Liam Buckley, Trevor Croly and Dave Campbell giving us information we'll be ready and know what to do. The backroom team here at Pat's is second to none."

Chambers, who also had spells with Shelbourne and Waterford United, is glad to be back in Ireland after an unhappy spell in Scotland with Hamilton.

They were in the SPL when he joined them from Rovers in January 2011, but within months they were demoted to the second tier.

After half a season in the Scottish First Division Chambers had had enough and opted to come home, signing for Pat's earlier this year.

"I'm delighted that I'm not stuck in that division any more, that wasn't what I bought into when I went to Scotland," he says.

"I'm enjoying my football now and Pat's is a great place to be, and playing a German team in Europe is certainly a different world from the Scottish First Division," he added.

"I was glad I got the chance to get to Scotland and play in the SPL but apart from when you play Celtic or Rangers you're up against mediocre teams most of the time, you never get to play a big European side, so this game with Pat's means a lot to me," added Chambers.

"People like myself and Bisto (Anto Flood) weren't really given a fair chance when we were away in Britain, so to come back and play in a big tie against a huge German club means an awful lot."