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Nicola Berger

Zürich, Switzerland
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About Nicola
Nicola Berger is a sports journalist based in Zürich, Switzerland. Currently writing for NZZ, previous employers have included FIFA Weekly, Neue Luzerner Zeitung, Zwölf Magazin and Berner Zeitung.
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Nora Häuptle experiences an adventure as Ghana's national coach

01 Oct 2023  |  Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Nora Häuptle, the national coach of Ghana's women's football team, the Black Queens, navigates the challenges and cultural differences in Ghana. Despite the country's economic hardships, football remains a unifying force. Häuptle's journey from Switzerland to Ghana is marked by her commitment to leaving her comfort zone and making a meaningful impact. She addresses the social disparities within the team and the broader society, emphasizing the importance of football in providing opportunities. Her efforts include seeking support from European sports manufacturers and conducting training courses. The article underscores her dedication and the positive influence she aims to have on Ghanaian women's football.

World Championship: Switzerland wins against Canada 3:2

20 May 2023  |  Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Switzerland secured a 3:2 victory against Canada in the Ice Hockey World Championship, marking their fourth win against Canada in the last five encounters. The Swiss team, led by Nino Niederreiter, demonstrated resilience and skill, overcoming a controversial penalty to claim the win. Despite Canada's team not being at full strength, the victory highlights Switzerland's significant progress in ice hockey. The Swiss team now has strong prospects for the group stage, with upcoming matches against the Czech Republic and Latvia, and aims to peak in the knockout phase under coach Patrick Fischer.

VfL Bochum: How the Unique Club Maintains Its Independence

17 May 2023  |  nzz.ch
VfL Bochum, a football club in the Bundesliga, is portrayed as a unique entity that maintains its independence and local identity, contrasting with the commercialized aspects of modern football. With the lowest personnel costs in the league, Bochum has a history of challenging larger clubs, especially at home. The club's managing director, Ilja Kaenzig, emphasizes the importance of maintaining the club's ethos and the potential for increased national TV revenue if they avoid relegation. The club is also seeking a financial partner that aligns with its strategy, rather than a traditional investor. The article highlights the club's connection with its fans and the local beer, Fiege-Bier, and discusses the implications of the upcoming matches for Bochum's future in the Bundesliga.

Servette needs one more win in the final against Biel

23 Apr 2023  |  nzz.ch
Genf/Servette dominated EHC Biel with a 7:1 victory on Saturday evening, with foreign players contributing three goals and six scorer points. Servette's foreign players have produced 16 scorer points in five playoff final matches, compared to Biel's eight. Servette, known for having the best and most expensive foreign players, could be rewarded with their first club championship title on Tuesday in Biel. The increase in foreign player quotas from four to six has made the National League better and more balanced. Servette's strategy of investing in high-caliber foreign talent, despite being less attractive to Swiss top players, may pay off with a championship win, reflecting a now-or-never mentality throughout the season.

SC Bern: CEO Raeto Raffainer has to leave

21 Apr 2023  |  www.nzz.ch
Raeto Raffainer, who ascended to the role of CEO at SC Bern eight months ago, has been abruptly dismissed due to differing views on the club's strategic direction. His predecessor, Marc Lüthi, who built SC Bern into one of the largest enterprises in Europe, will return to stabilize the club, planning to serve for approximately three years. The club has experienced a pattern of hire-and-fire policies, with five coaches employed since January 2021. The search for a new coach is ongoing, with Jeremy Colliton being a notable candidate. Despite a solid team foundation, SC Bern's financial advantage has diminished, making a return to past dominance challenging.

EHC Biel: Brunner's long run to become the hero of a play

17 Apr 2023  |  Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Damien Brunner, at age 37, has had a long and eventful ice hockey career, marked by both spectacular play and significant injuries. After becoming the most expensive player in Swiss hockey history with HC Lugano, he faced health issues and a lack of fulfillment, leading to his departure. His time in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils was also challenging due to a strict regime that stifled his creativity. Brunner's career has been a search for the joy and freedom of play, which he seems to have found with EHC Biel. Despite recurring injuries, he has made a strong comeback and contributed significantly to Biel's success, including scoring decisive goals in the finals. Brunner's story is one of resilience and passion for the game, as he continues to pursue his first championship title.

Football - Only six points behind FC Luzern: The champion has awakened

13 Apr 2023  |  tagblatt.ch
FC Zürich has experienced a significant improvement in their performance, with an average of 1.53 points per game under Danish coach Bo Henriksen, compared to 0.25 points under his predecessor, German Franco Foda, who was dismissed in September. Despite a lackluster record of one win in the last six games, including a somewhat fortunate 2-1 victory against FC Luzern nearly a month ago, FC Zürich has managed to close the gap to just six points behind FC Luzern.

Football - Only six points behind FC Luzern: The champion has awakened

13 Apr 2023  |  www.thurgauerzeitung.ch
FC Zürich has experienced a significant improvement in performance, with Danish coach Bo Henriksen achieving an average of 1.53 points per game, a marked increase from the 0.25 points under his predecessor, German Franco Foda, who was dismissed in September. Despite a lackluster record of one win in the last six games, including a somewhat fortunate 2-1 victory against FC Luzern nearly a month ago, FC Zürich has narrowed the gap to just six points behind FC Luzern.

Servette FC: Coach René Weiler to Succeed Alain Geiger in Summer

05 Apr 2023  |  Neue Zürcher Zeitung
René Weiler will succeed Alain Geiger as the coach of Servette FC in the summer, signing a two-year contract. Geiger, who has been with the club since 2018, led Servette back to the Super League and into European competitions. Weiler, a former player for Servette, is expected to bring a new performance culture to the team. The club aims to become a top force in Swiss football, similar to its success in ice hockey. Significant investments and strategic changes are anticipated to support this ambition.

SC Bern: The Quick End of the Toni Söderholm Era

04 Apr 2023  |  Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Toni Söderholm's tenure as head coach of SC Bern ended abruptly after about five months when both parties agreed to part ways, with Söderholm expected to sign with a club in Munich. SC Bern, which had paid the German Ice Hockey Federation for Söderholm's release, will now have a wider pool of coaching candidates to choose from. The team has struggled with performance consistency and leadership issues, and since the dismissal of coach Kari Jalonen in January 2020, SC Bern has not ranked better than eighth place.

ZSC Lions: The threat of a disgrace like the last one in 2016 against Bern

04 Apr 2023  |  Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Marc Crawford, coach of the ZSC Lions, faces a challenging situation as his team is on the brink of playoff elimination, trailing 0-3 in the series against EHC Biel. The ZSC Lions, who have previously experienced a 3-0 lead reversal against Zug, now aim to avoid a repeat of the 2016 playoff defeat. The team's offensive struggles are highlighted by the absence of Denis Hollenstein due to injury and the underperformance of key players like Sven Andrighetto. Crawford's decision to bench players Justin Azevedo and Lucas Wallmark for the recent game reflects the team's desperate attempts to change their fortunes. EHC Biel, on the other hand, boasts a stronger offensive lineup and is one win away from advancing in the playoffs.

SC Bern: What happens with the coach and the goalkeeper?

27 Mar 2023  |  Neue Zürcher Zeitung
SC Bern's hockey team faces uncertainty regarding its coach and goalkeeper after a disappointing season. Chris DiDomenico's controversial departure and the team's performance have raised questions about the future of key players like Sven Bärtschi and Éric Gélinas. The team, which has not won a playoff series since January 2020, is experiencing a decline from its previous top position in the league. The management's decisions and the potential for changes in the coaching staff, including Toni Söderholm's future, are under scrutiny as the team seeks to rebuild its identity and improve its performance.

Swiss baseball player dreams of the MLB

13 Mar 2023  |  badenertagblatt.ch
It has been over 100 years since a Swiss player, Otto Hess, played baseball at the highest level in the USA. Hess, a pitcher for the Cleveland Bronchos and the Boston Braves, also fought in World War I and the Spanish-American War in the Philippines. His remarkable baseball career ended in 1915, and he passed away from tuberculosis in 1926, which he contracted during the war in France.

EHC Kloten resists the end for Jeff Tomlinson

08 Mar 2023  |  Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Jeff Tomlinson, coach of the Swiss hockey team EHC Kloten, is praised for his exceptional coaching skills, leading his teams to surpass expectations. Despite battling a serious kidney disease and undergoing a transplant, Tomlinson has shown resilience and positivity, which has inspired his team. Kloten has had a remarkable season, outperforming wealthier clubs despite budget constraints. Tomlinson, facing the end of his coaching career due to health issues, plans to continue contributing to the club in a reduced capacity. The club is also undergoing a coaching search, with Tomlinson's input, to find his successor.

Adriana Lima: The FIFA not only irritates with the ambassador

08 Mar 2023  |  Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Gianni Infantino's appointment of Brazilian model Adriana Lima as an ambassador for the upcoming Women's World Cup has sparked controversy. Critics argue that Lima, who has minimal connection to football, is an inappropriate choice, especially given her past controversial statements. Additionally, FIFA's sponsorship deal with Saudi Arabia has raised concerns about 'sportswashing.' Despite these issues, fan enthusiasm remains high, with significant ticket sales and venue changes to accommodate demand.

Géraldine Reuteler in the Form of Her Life

01 Mar 2023  |  www.nzz.ch
Géraldine Reuteler, a Swiss soccer player, is currently experiencing the best form of her career at Eintracht Frankfurt, being recognized as one of the Bundesliga's top offensive players. Despite a challenging knee injury in 2021, she has made a strong comeback with the help of a mental coach. Reuteler's journey from her early days in Huttwil to her professional career in Frankfurt showcases her dedication and talent. With more than 50 international caps and two European Championship participations, she is poised to take on a more central role in the Swiss national team. The article also touches on the realities of Swiss women's soccer, where players often have to move abroad to pursue their careers professionally.

EHC Kloten: David Reinbacher is the Discovery of the Season

15 Feb 2023  |  Neue Zürcher Zeitung
David Reinbacher, an 18-year-old defenseman for EHC Kloten, has emerged as the standout player of the National League season. His impressive performance, characterized by nearly 20 minutes of play per game and 22 points in 42 games, has made him a top prospect for the upcoming NHL Draft. Reinbacher's success is attributed to his collaboration with a holistic practitioner, supportive coaching from Jeff Tomlinson, and a nurturing environment at Kloten. Despite earning a modest salary, his value to the team is immense. Reinbacher's future, including potential NHL opportunities, remains promising yet uncertain.

Life in Abundance

14 Nov 2013  |  Neue Zürcher Zeitung
In the United States, the stark contrast between wealth and poverty is evident in Manhattan, where the Madison Square Garden, a renowned sports and entertainment arena, is located. The article discusses the lavish spending on sports facilities and players' salaries in the NHL, juxtaposed with the visible homelessness outside the venues. It highlights the differences in social support systems between the US and Europe, and the culture of affluence that pervades American professional sports. The piece also touches on the experiences of Swiss NHL players like Rick Nash, Damien Brunner, and others, and the disparity between the lives of professional athletes and those struggling on the streets.

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