Strong Wellinger beaten only by strength

Ski jumper Andreas Wellinger continues the German podium series with two second places. Stefan Kraft is already the favorite for the Four Hills Tournament.

Cologne/Lillehammer (SID) Andreas Wellinger screamed with joy, then high-fived Karl Geiger, who was also beaming: The German ski jumpers continued their impressive series of podiums at the start of the season in ice-cold Lillehammer. “We have an extremely strong team at the moment, it’s a lot of fun,” said Wellinger, who was only beaten twice in Norway by the outstanding Austrian Stefan Kraft.

After four competitions this season, Wellinger already has three podium places. But once again there was unstoppable strength. The veteran was the first jumper to celebrate four victories in the first four competitions since his compatriot Thomas Morgenstern in 2007 and is already the clear favorite for the Four Hills Tournament starting at the end of the month.

But the DSV Eagles have also already positioned themselves. “Second behind Stefan, more is not possible at the moment,” said national coach Stefan Horngacher about Wellinger and was also happy about another first-class team result. Geiger narrowly missed the podium in fourth place both on Saturday on the small 1994 Olympic hill and on Sunday on the large one. Pius Paschke in sixth and Stephan Leyhe in ninth also landed in the top ten on Saturday.

On Sunday we went to the neighboring big Bakken – and again the German team came up trumps behind the top duo Wellinger/Geiger with Paschke (7th), Leyhe (11th) and Philipp Raimund (12th). “The good, hard work in the summer is paying off,” said two-time Olympic champion Wellinger, who remained ice cold even in temperatures of 19 degrees below zero.

Ski jumping: “Expectations are of course rising”

After four competitions, the DSV Eagles have already collected five podium places – there have never been more in the history of the World Cup at this point. In the entire past winter there were only eight.

What Horngacher was particularly pleased about was that the strong start in Kuusamo wasn’t a flash in the pan. “That was important. Expectations naturally increase, and the mistakes usually increase too. I’m very happy, the boys are sorted,” said the Austrian.

Things were less successful for women in the same place. World champion Katharina Schmid clearly missed the podium with two eighth places on the first World Cup weekend under her new name. “It was a bit of a bumpy start, the jumps didn’t come naturally. It’s a shame,” said Schmid, who won three World Championship gold medals in Planica in the spring under her maiden name Althaus.

The men continue next weekend with the first home game of the season in Klingenthal. The last German on the podium was Markus Eisenbichler. The former world champion, who was recently in poor form, is hoping to return to the A squad – after the strong start to the season, Horngacher is now spoiled for choice.