He was just awarded Swiss handball player of the year, now Andy Schmid, playing for German side Rhein Neckar Löwen, is confident of Switzerland’s qualification chances for the Phase 2 of the EHF EURO 2014.
Switzerland will play in Phase 1 of the EHF EURO 2014 in Bari, Italy, against the host, Greece and Great Britain.
What does the award ‘Swiss handball player of the year’ mean to you?
Andy Schmid: It is a great honour, when people appreciate your performance, so this award is very important for me.
But in the past few months I had not been satisfied with my performances and the performance of my club - we first missed out on the title in the EHF Cup and then on the qualification for the VELUX EHF Champions League.
So this award is something like a consolation for those goals I did not reach.
Is it hard for you to switch from club handball to national team handball for an event like the EHF EURO qualification?
Andy Schmid: It is easy for me. It feels good to see some other people than those in the club and it felt good to return home for the preparations for this tournament.
We need good results with the national team and I am confident that we can achieve those results.
In January Switzerland missed out on qualification for 2013 World Championship play-off matches due to a draw in Lithuania. Do you still look back at this missed opportunity?
Andy Schmid: We have stopped thinking about it, as it is not worth thinking about the past - we have to look ahead.
Of course it is bitter for us to start in the qualification phase 1 for the EHF EURO 2014, but we have brought this on ourselves.
Now we are focusing clearly on our opponents in Bari, however, it is not an easy task. Greece and Italy are strong sides so we have to be careful. We hope that we are strong enough.
Do you rate your team as the favourite in Bari?
Andy Schmid: It depends on the Greek squad that will be in Bari.
If all their players from German Bundesliga are present, then they would be favourites, otherwise I would say we share the favourite role.
Little things will be decisive, as we know from our matches against Italy in the pre-qualification for the World Championship.
How important would a qualification for the second stage of the EHF EURO 2014 qualification would be for Switzerland?
Andy Schmid: It is highly important for Swiss handball, as our clubs like Kadetten Schaffhausen or Wacker Thun have been very successful in the previous seasons – and they impressed a lot of people.
So now we have to make our contribution for the development of the national team.