The German ski jumpers are heading for a debacle at the Four Hills Tournament. The mood in the team is at its lowest point, the national coach is practicing slogans of perseverance.
“There are days that go well, there are days that go less well – and today was shit.“Andreas Wellinger was served. Even in the third competition of the Four Hills Tournament in Innsbruck, the German ski jumpers fell far short of their expectations.
There was great anticipation and hope for a positive result at the high point of the season. One or the other might even have been eyeing the first German overall victory since Sven Hannawald’s triumph more than 20 years ago. National coach Stefan Horngacher had even announced that “I have never driven to a Four Hills Tournament with such a good team” to be.
DSV eagles jump behind
The disillusionment before the final competition in Bischofshofen on Friday is all the greater. The overall victory is long gone. The top duo around the leader in the overall standings, Halvor Egner Granerud from Norway, and his closest pursuer, Dawid Kubacki from Poland, are too dominant.
But even the top ten places are anything but a matter of course for the DSV-Adler at the moment. While Karl Geiger and Andreas Wellinger delivered solid performances in the first two competitions in Oberstdorf and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the mood after Innsbruck was at its lowest point.
Geiger’s qualifying debacle is the tip of the iceberg
“That hurts a lot. We actually started the tour well, but now we’ve fallen quite far behind“, explained Horngacher, visibly dejected. Geiger experienced a bitter awakening in qualifying when he didn’t make it into the top 50. A day later, the Germans jumped behind again.
Wellinger was only 18th, Markus Eisenbichler, always good for a podium place in the past, made it into the second round for the first time on this tour. However, that must not be the claim of the German ski jumpers. “The atmosphere in the team sucks“, the three-time world champion of 2019 summed up the misery.
Horngacher’s chair doesn’t wobble (yet).
“At the moment we’re not where we want to be, but we certainly won’t lose our nerve“, announced Horst Hüttel, the responsible sports director in the DSV. Rash reactions – also with a view to the office of the national coach – will not be drawn.
“What will be decisive is what happens before the World Cup. The coaches are already going full throttle“said Hüttel, but added:”I really hope that the coaches will come up with something that will work.“
Horngacher: “We mustn’t stick our heads in the sand”
First and foremost, mental development work is required. They no longer have to prove to anyone that Geiger, Eisenbichler, Wellinger and Co. can compete with the best in the world. Constantin Schmid (26th in Innsbruck), Pius Paschke (28th) and Stephan Leyhe can also achieve a top 15 result on good days.
But currently the worm is simply in there. “This is a difficult situation, but we must not stick our heads in the sand” said Horngacher. One is “definitely not clueless“, White “which wheels we need to turn“.
Ray of light Philipp Raimund
But where there is shadow, there is always light: From a German point of view, Philipp Raimund is the discovery of this Four Hills Tournament. Bright and with a refreshing lightness, the 22-year-old joins the big crowd.
In the overall standings he currently occupies a strong 13th place. In Innsbruck he was the 13th best German. “I came here with no big goals. The fact that it’s going so well only makes it better“Raimund beamed after his best World Cup result so far.
Tour threatens to end without a German podium
However, his achievements are only a small ray of hope in the German team. Before the final competition in Bischofshofen, for the first time since 2016/17, the DSV-Adler are threatening to end a tour without a podium finish in a day competition. The hopes are all the greater that Geiger will find his way back to his old strength.
“Karl has been through so many ups and downs. He can’t be defeated. He’s coming back up – definitely“Hornhacher is certain. It would be good for the Olympic bronze medalist from Beijing. A conciliatory conclusion to the Four Hills Tournament would be balm for the badly strained German ski jumping soul.