When Johan Koch talks about Switzerland, he immediately lights up. With a smile on his face, he talks about new goals and great opportunities, and no, it’s not mainly about handball for him. The center of the foxes, who recently announced that he would go to HC Kriens-Luzern next season, had already considered the idea of literally hanging up his sneakers.
“The idea to stop was definitely there,” says Koch, whose contract in Berlin had not been extended. First of all, the 31-year-old Dane inquired and discovered that there were good offers from the Bundesliga, France and from home. He really couldn’t get excited. If he had to move from Berlin, then please go to a city that is equally attractive, that’s the idea. Because for Koch, life is at least as important as sports.
The Dane has always been versatile: he collects art, he loves French food, he has a stake in a Danish winery. “For me it has to be more than just handball,” says Koch. His resume says accordingly. In Denmark he completed his studies in the field of media and sports, during his time in Schaffhausen he trained as a bank clerk, in Berlin he began to make more investments and worked with various start-ups until he received an offer from Zurich, where he will work as a financial advisor for athletes in the future. “This is an absolute dream job. The company cooperates with Formula 1, the Bundesliga and other sports. This is a really exciting task for me,” says Koch.
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He had already signed the contract when the exceptional Swiss playmaker Andy Schmid approached him and asked if Koch would like to support him as part of the team in Lucerne. “When the offer was presented to me, I was blown away,” says Koch, who, after consulting with his employer, quickly liked the idea. “I still feel fit and playing center with one of the best midfielders in the world is an incredible opportunity.”
Less travel stress
In sporting terms, Koch also likes the extra responsibility he is supposed to take on at the club. He is also interested in the project to which the national player Fabian Böhm is also associated. Added to this is Lucerne’s fantastic location on Lake Lucerne and its proximity to the metropolis of Zurich. Apart from the fact that in National League A the travel stresses are much lower than in Germany. “A lot of good things come together,” says Koch. “I can certainly imagine staying there long-term.”
But before things get underway in Switzerland, Johan Koch still has a lot planned for Berliners. At least in theory. Because practically the foxes recently had to do without the circular corridor from him. The Dane did not attend the European Cup match away from Irun two weeks ago because his wife Puk was expecting her second child and, to make matters worse, he had contracted the coronavirus shortly before the scheduled date. “It was not easy to fix everything with the hospital. The German bureaucracy can drive you to despair,” says Koch. Meanwhile, mother and son are wide awake and back home.
After the short comeback in the last match of the Europa League group stage against Wisla Plock in Berlin, the 31-year-old had to go through the pinnacle match in Kiel again. Due to a shoulder injury, Koch was only able to follow the Berliners’ victory on television and will probably have to do the same in future matches. At the moment it is not clear when and if the Dane can intervene again.
Otherwise, it would be a bitter loss for the club, which is currently looking for a replacement. For Koch, on the other hand, it would be an ungrateful farewell to the Foxes, for whom he has been playing for four years and recently scored his 250th goal. If it were up to him, the Berliners could score a few more goals, because handball is not over here yet.