Germans jump behind in Innsbruck
Dawid Kubacki cheered for the day’s victory with his fists stretched upwards, the German ski jumpers experienced a debacle: the Germans played without at the grandiose air show of the victorious Pole at the Four Hills Tournament in Innsbruck Karl Geiger only supporting roles. Youngster Philipp Raimund took 13th place as the best from the team of national coach Stefan Horngacher. Kubacki prevailed ahead of Halvor Egner Granerud on the Bergiselschanze on Wednesday. However, Kubacki’s lead over the Norwegian was too small to catch up in the fight for the golden eagle. Granerud goes into the tour final as a big favourite. The Slovenian Anze Lanisek was third.
The DSV eagles, on the other hand, are threatened with the worst tour performance since the difficult crisis years almost a decade ago. “The mood in the team sucks,” said the three-time world champion of 2019, Markus Eisenbichler.
Most recently, the German jumpers had always fought for at least one podium place. They’re a long way from that now. The violinist, who was fifth before the trip to Austria, no longer has a chance to attack at the front. Also Andreas Wellinger did not confirm his previously improving form on the impressive ski jump with a view of the Nordkette. He ended up in 18th place. Eisenbichler was already satisfied, for the first time with this one tour to have reached the second round.
“We have a few blows to digest. It’s not that easy,” said team manager Horst Hüttel before the atmospheric third tourney competition in front of 18,700 spectators in the ARD. 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, national coach Stefan Horngacher even said that he had “never gone to a Four Hills Tournament with such a good team”. His athletes did not confirm the Austrian.
While Kubacki and Granerud showed great flying skills at Bergisel, Germany’s best jumper watched television. “Cheer up, Karle” was written on 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 debacle 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 been through so many ups and downs. He can’t be defeated. He’ll come back up – definitely.” Horngacher added: “Now he needs help from us, from the coaches.”