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Monday, February 6, 2023

Four Hills Tournament: German ski jumping debacle at Kubacki Show

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The Pole Dawid Kubacki is the best ski jumper on Bergisel. He wins ahead of Halvor Egner Granerud. The Norwegian is the big favorite to win the tour. The German jumpers are in crisis.

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The German ski jumpers themselves haven’t left the unwelcome Bergisel for a long time.

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While Poland’s day winner Dawid Kubacki and Norway’s tour leader Halvor Egner Granerud delivered the next big show in Innsbruck, the clearly beaten jumpers around Andreas Wellinger left the third station of the Four Hills Tournament with grim faces. “There are days that go well, there are days that go less well and today was shit,” said Wellinger.

The DSV eagles are threatened with the worst tour performance since the difficult crisis years almost a decade ago. “The mood in the team is crappy,” said the three-time world champion of 2019, Markus Eisenbichler, after the debacle. Referring to his buddy Karl Geiger, who failed to qualify, he added: “Karl was eliminated yesterday. We’re not all that good. The atmosphere can’t be good there.”

Granerud ahead of overall victory

When the decision for the day’s victory was made between the top jumpers Kubacki and Granerud in front of 18,700 spectators, the German athletes had long since finished work. Kubacki cheered with raised fists about the day’s victory. But Granerud was also allowed to feel almost like a winner.

It is true that the Norwegian can no longer only win all the competitions in a tour, as was previously the case with Sven Hannawald, Kamil Stoch and Ryoyu Kobayashi. Overall victory at the 71st edition of the Schanzen spectacle can only be snatched away from the 26-year-old if he makes a blunder. Before the tour finale, his lead in second place is already around 13 meters. Third overall is Anze Lanisek from Slovenia.

Horngacher “definitely not at a loss”

In the past few years, the German jumpers had always fought for at least one podium place. They’re a long way from that now. “Of course it hurts a lot,” said national coach Stefan Horngacher. “It’s a difficult situation for us, but we can’t bury our heads in the sand now.” The Austrian made it clear: “I’m definitely not at a loss.”

Youngster Philipp Raimund took 13th place as the best German. Wellinger did not confirm his previously improving form on the impressive ski jump facility with a view of the Nordkette. He only ended up in 18th place and in eighth place is now by far the best German in the overall ranking. Eisenbichler was satisfied to have reached the second round for the first time on this tour.

Even if things had not gone really well this season before the peak around the turn of the year: such disappointing performances were not to be expected. Shortly before the tournament, Horngacher had even said that he had “never gone to a Four Hills Tournament with such a good team”. His athletes did not endorse him.

Geiger reports via video message

While the current top jumpers from Poland, Norway and Slovenia showed great flying skills in Austria, Germany’s best jumper watched television. “Karle, cheer up,” read a flag in the stadium high above the city. For the first time since March 2018, Geiger failed in a World Cup qualification on Tuesday. Instead of challenging the strongest of the first two tournaments, as hoped, the man from Oberstdorf watched the competition from the team hotel. He spoke up with a video message. “It’s extremely sad and bitter, but I won’t give up,” said Geiger in the report that was broadcast on ARD during the first round.

Already this Thursday (4.30 p.m. / ZDF and Eurosport) he is required to qualify for the end of the tour in Bischofshofen. Geiger wants to stabilize there again. The Bergisel disgrace should remain a slip, at the latest by the World Championships in Planica in February the good form should be back.

Horngacher doesn’t believe that his mistake will throw him off balance in the long term. “No, definitely not,” said the 53-year-old. “Karl has already lived through so many ups and downs. He can’t be beaten. He’ll come back up – definitely.” Horngacher added: “Now he needs help from us, from the coaches.”

Source: Stern

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