The German ski jumpers experience a complicated season, the team jumps behind the world leaders for months. Now the DSV team seems to have turned things around: strong results are coming out in Lake Placid.
One and a half weeks before the start of the World Championships in Planica, Slovenia, the German ski jumpers returned to the top of the world - and even clinched the long-awaited first World Cup victory of the winter in Lake Placid. From a German point of view, the outstanding man was the two-time Olympic champion Andreas Wellinger, who celebrated his first individual World Cup victory in more than five years in the USA on Saturday. A day later, the 27-year-old took a strong second place - only the overall World Cup leader Halvor Egner Granerud from Norway was better.
"It's unbelievable that I can stand on the podium twice in a row," said Wellinger. Wellinger had been looking for his form of earlier days for years. "I've fought brutally in the last few weeks, the last months, the last years," he said after a long period of suffering with multiple injuries. The 2014 and 2018 Olympic champion temporarily slipped out of the World Cup team and was not nominated for the 2022 Winter Games in China. Lately he had flashed his class from earlier days again and again. But it wasn't enough for a real breakthrough. "The fact that the leap onto the podium is first place again just feels so great," said Wellinger.
The other German jumpers also showed improving form a week and a half before the start of the World Championships. Karl Geiger just missed the podium in fourth place on Sunday, the day before he was eighth. "I think we can go home with a good feeling," said Geiger after the weekend. Markus Eisenbichler also jumped well and ended up in 10th and 14th place. National coach Stefan Horngacher should be encouraged by his performances overseas after his jumpers had mostly disappointed this winter.
There was even a threat of a season without a World Cup victory. The German team had no chance at the Four Hills Tournament. The athletes from the German Ski Association also jumped behind in most of the other World Cups. Others set the standards - above all the Norwegian Granerud, but also Dawid Kubacki from Poland. But now the turnaround has apparently succeeded. The German jumpers hope to be able to improve their form again before the upcoming World Championships in Planica, Slovenia. The first world championship competition will be on the normal hill on February 25th. Then Stefan Horngacher's protégés want to reach for precious metal. "I think we're on the right track," said Geiger.