Germany to play Switzerland at the Volkswagen Bank Beach Challenge in the Volkswagenhalle in Braunschweig

Braunschweig/Zurich, 10 February 2005: Andreas Scheuerpflug (37) has seen everything as a Beach Volleyball Professional: He has been to the Olympic Games twice (in Sydney and Athens), has been to the World Championships three times, but a Beach Nations Cup®, like the one to take place on 19 February 2005 in the Volkswagenhalle in Braunschweig, is even a novelty to an old veteran like himself. The top match-up of the premiere features Germany against Switzerland. Germany will play with the European Champions Markus Dieckmann and Jonas Reckermann, as well as the German Champions Andreas Scheuerpflug and Christoph Dieckmann. Switzerland will be represented by the Bronze Medallists of the 2004 Olympic Games, Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel and the newly formed duo of Sascha Heyer and Paul Laciga (former multiple European Champions with different partners). In the following interview, Andreas Scheuerpflug, who will retire from the court after the 2005 season, speaks about the appeal of the Beach Nations Cup®.

Mr. Scheuerpflug, the Beach Nations Cup® is a novelty in the last season of your career.

I am really looking forward to it. The organisers have initiated the concept for some time and the players suggested it a number of years ago. I am glad this project is now becoming a reality.

What is the appeal from a player’s standpoint?

Beach Volleyball needs new and different formats. The idea of nations playing each other has a great appeal. Of course we always represent our own countries when we play internationally, but the fans and the media usually focus on the names of the teams and not the fact that we are a national team. The Beach Nations Cup® emphasises the thought that one country is playing against another country. I think that the fans can more easily identify with us and follow the action.

Does the Beach Nations Cup® have to be played indoors?
Well, it is very difficult to find room in the overall calendar of high-ranking international tournament series, that are essential for Beach Volleyball as a sport. I am glad that the Beach Nations Cup® is taking place prior to the European outdoor season when Beach Volleyball is really in the minds of fans and the media. We have looked for alternatives in the past. Now we have one and we do not have to start at square one in the summer to remind people that we are out there.

But many top teams train in warmer countries such as Brazil, New Zealand or Australia during the winter months, to get ready for the summer season.

That is not a problem. On the contrary: we can always take new competitions into account when we make our schedule. They are a welcome test with world-class competition, where we can check our own condition. It is never inconvenient to play an international top team and both Swiss teams are in the top ten of the world-ranking list.

The mode of play also features a doubles match: the four German players will play the four Swiss players. That promises to be a special treat for the fans.

That will definitely be interesting, because it is so unusual. Our roles should be clear anyway: Markus Dieckmann will assist, I will play the part of defensive stopper and Jonas Reckermann and Christoph Dieckmann will block and smash as hard as they can.

Schedule for the Beach Nations Cup on 19 February 2005 in the Volkswagenhalle in Braunschweig:

1:30 p.m. Admittance
2:30 Christoph Dieckmann/Andreas Scheuerpflug vs. Patrick Heuscher/Stefan Kobel
3:30 Markus Dieckmann/Jonas Reckermann vs. Sascha Heyer/Paul Laciga
4:30 Break
5:00 Doubles (four on four): Germany vs. Switzerland
6:00 Exhibition match: Stephanie Pohl/Okka Rau (GER) vs. Ingrid Hakedal/Nila Ann Torlen (NOR)
7:00 Christoph Dieckmann/Andreas Scheuerpflug vs. Sascha Heyer/Paul Laciga
8:00 Markus Dieckmann/Jonas Reckermann vs. Patrick Heuscher/Stefan Kobel
Winner’s ceremony following the matches
9:00 p.m. Start of the Players’ Party in the entrance lobby of the arena

Tickets available through the hotline 01805/ 331111 or at http://www.ticket-online.de/
Normal 19,70 Euros (including access to party)
Reduced (Children, Students, disabled persons) 16,40 Euros (including access to party)

VIP-tickets:
Single VIP-ticket: 95 Euros
VIP-Box: (six box seats): 475,00 Euros
The VIP-status includes:

· Preferred seating in the box area on field level
· Access to the VIP-area with exclusive VIP-catering
· Access to the Player’s Party in the Volkswagenhalle (public event)

VIP-tickets can be purchased from the organisers Event Consulting International at +49-531-237795-0 or at tickets@eci-world.com

Journalists, who wish to be accredited for the Beach Nations Cup® are kindly asked to download the accreditation form at http://www.beach-nations-cup.com/ or to demand one via email at mailtpresse@beach-nations-cup.com. For more information please contact Klaus Wegener, GSM-Communications-Manager (+49-173-7033403). We would also be glad to send you photo material for the media coverage in advance free of charge.

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