Before the third competition of the Four Hills Tournament, national coach Stefan Horngacher gave a surprisingly positive interim report. His jumpers are more cautious.
“Best Hopes” is inscribed in large white letters on a banner behind the German ski jumpers. Karl Geiger and Andreas Wellinger joke, national coach Stefan Horngacher discusses the nearby bobsleigh track before the start of the press conference – the mood is relaxed, almost relaxed. “I am very satisfied”Horngacher then summarizes the first two competitions of the Four Hills Tournament from the perspective of the German team.
The outlook isn’t even as good as the banner in the background promises. With Geiger and Wellinger in fifth and sixth place, two DSV-Adlers are in the top ten of the overall standings – but neither will have anything to do with victory. “It was clear from the start that we wouldn’t necessarily be competing for victory here.”, says Horngacher. Not necessarily. And yet, the national coach draws up a positive balance sheet, raves about his jumpers, even those who are not doing so well.
Impulse control in the German team
With Constantin Schmid – currently 23rd – he is “Very satisfied”. Schmid himself has rarely worked in recent days “Very satisfied”, struggled with a lack of consistency, tough conditions and even angrily threw the bag with his ski boots into a corner in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. On the other hand, more impulse control with the otherwise so emotional Markus Eisenbichler, who had prescribed himself this impulse control before this season and who now oscillates between stoic calm and determined optimism.
“He’s actually not far away”says Horngacher about the man from Siegsdorf, who did not reach the second round either in Oberstdorf or Garmisch-Partenkirchen: “He just needs time and rest. And then things can go incredibly fast for him.” For Eisenbichler, the goal is anyway the Nordic Skiing World Championships in Planica at the end of February. He is currently 37th overall in the circuit.
humility and hope
Right up front – where the German team isn’t currently, the air is very thin anyway, Horngacher points out. “But for everyone, not just for us. And we’re part of the wider circle of hunters and that’s very, very positive.”, says the national coach. After all, with Geiger and Wellinger there would be two DSV eagles, “who are allowed to hunt others”. It almost feels humiliating, as if the German team can’t really attack the tour’s self-image.
Karl Geiger also chooses his words carefully and hopes that “sometimes we go wrong”. A jump with which he can threaten Granerud, Dawid Kubacki second or his Polish compatriot Piotr Żyła third: “That you can slap them and say, ‘You always have to rely on us.'” Really convinced it will actually work, but Geiger doesn’t seem either.
Lightness, self-image, everything that is so important in ski jumping is currently missing from the German team. Andreas Wellinger knows this too, but he thinks: “With the necessary patience, we will also work on the ease.” A wording that seems almost contradictory – but in Wellinger’s case, it finally worked. After a serious injury and the hard way back, he fought back with great patience and regained his lightness and a certain composure. It’s also why Wellinger stumbles upon the rather mixed German half-time record of the Four Hills Tournament – in the best sense of the word.
Just like Philip Raimund. The youngster of the team – unimpressed, enjoying the atmosphere of his first World Cup competitions, signing autographs and playing with the camera. The national coach is also known as ‘Hille’, as his teammates call him “very, very satisfied”. With one look at the 22-year-old, however, it’s far less surprising than with the whole squad. “We cannot speak of a negative balance sheet, but of a positive balance sheet”, said Horngacher firmly. Maybe there will still be “better prospects” after all.
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