Shortly after 11.00 h, arguably the highest handball match ever at 3,454 meters above sea level kicked off. BSV Bern, one of Switzerland’s most successful handball clubs challenged the internationally experienced national handball team from South Korea at the Top of Europe. The Bernese left nothing to chance against the nine-time Asian champions, with support from Andy Schmid, the exceptional Swiss talent. Schmid, under contract with the German handball Bundesliga club Rhein-Neckar Löwen, acted as coach for the Bernese.
For the friendly match, an original handball field was set up on the Aletsch glacier over an area of 20x40 metres. The top players from Switzerland and South Korea were not deterred by the thin air and delivered an exciting game. BSV Bern emerged victorious. Andy Schmid did not miss out and personally joined in the game after a spontaneous penalty shoot-out. At the end, the players answered questions from journalists from Asia, Germany and Switzerland. Andy Schmid was enthusiastic and said: “It was a great honour for me to be part of this unique event. It was actually my first time on the Jungfraujoch. Now I know why this place is famous worldwide.”
Andy Schmid signs contract
The successful Swiss handball player came for another reason. At 3,454 metres above sea level, he and Jungfrau Railways CEO Urs Kessler signed a six-year contract as brand ambassador for Jungfrau Railways. The company has therefore landed itself a top athlete. “With Andy Schmid, we want to strengthen our presence in Germany and intensify our market development”, explained Urs Kessler. Jungfrau Railways is aiming to attract more guests from Germany for the Jungfraujoch and winter sports. Urs Kessler is convinced: “With Andy Schmid, we have been able to gain a popular figure with great appeal.”
The Jungfraujoch has already hosted numerous events with world-famous stars. It was kicked off by the Swiss national football team, followed by the best cricket players from India. The Klitschko brothers, NBA star Tony Parker, sprinter Asafa Powell and none other than tennis ace Roger Federer have since turned heads at the Top of Europe. The previous sports event series was expanded in 2015 with the appearance of Chinese pop star GEM on the Aletsch Glacier, and in 2017 with the unveiling of the Chaplin statue together with Eugene Chaplin, son of the film icon.
The challenge of getting famous stars to perform on the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe time and again is a big one. Last year, Urs Kessler nevertheless managed to bring golf ace Rory McIlroy to the glacier. With the top handball players, they have upped the ante again. “For 2020, we have already secured the appearance of a world-famous musician.” But Kessler did not reveal any more.