After 14 years away, the Swiss national team return to Europe’s biggest stage with the hope that they are here to stay.
Switzerland’s third and last appearance at an EHF EURO event came back in 2006 – a year in which the Swiss hosted the event. That year the team finished in a disappointing 14th place and were eliminated at the preliminary stage.
However, having been away from the main stage for over a decade, the Swiss stormed back into the limelight with a solid qualification campaign, led by head coach Michael Suter and spear-headed by Rhein-Neckar Löwen playmaker Andy Schmid.
The Swiss finished in second place behind group winners Croatia in qualifying, winning three of their first four matches, ensuring they will line-up along the European elite this year.
Of course the national team have been no strangers to success in the past, having finishing fourth at the World Championships in 1993. Now, with a young and talented squad on his hands, Suter will be aiming to ensure the Swiss can earn the team a spot in the main round for only the second time in their history.
Whether they can achieve that this year remains to be seen, but their opening match against hosts Sweden in Gothenburg will certainly be a game to keep an eye on.
The undisputed star and the offensive mastermind of the Swiss national team, Schmid started his career in Switzerland with Zurich, before moving to play in Denmark with Bjerringbro-Silkeborg in the 2009/10 campaign. After a fine first season in Scandinavia he joined Rhein-Neckar Lowen where he went onto be named MVP five times in a row as Lowen went onto win two national titles.
Having made his debut as a 17-year-old back in 2011, Nikola has already gone onto feature in almost 100 international matches for Switzerland, quickly showing the leadership skills to make him captain. The talented and ambitious keeper appeared in the Swiss top-flight in 2010/11 for BSV Bern before he moved to Montpellier where he became the first Swiss handball player to lift the VELUX EHF Champions League.
Switzerland’s return to the EHF EURO after more than a decade away has largely down to the work of new head coach Michael, who took over the reins in 2016, after long-term work with the Swiss younger age categories. The youth and junior teams would go on and enjoy considerable success under his guidance, which saw the Swiss finish in seven competitions in the top 10. As a player, the left-handed winger played 74 times for the national team, including at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Past Performance at EHF EURO Events