Dhe former team world champion Richard Freitag and Olympic champion Andreas Wellinger dropped out of the German team prematurely at the Four Hills Tournament. This was announced by national ski jumping trainer Stefan Horngacher at a video press conference on Saturday morning in the team hotel in Lans before qualifying for the Bergisel jumping (1.30 p.m. / ARD and Eurosport).
As expected, the two prominent German ski jumpers fell victim to the reduction in the number of tournaments from twelve to six starters for the competitions in Austria in Innsbruck on Sunday and Bischofshofen on Wednesday. In addition to the top duo Karl Geiger and Markus Eisenbichler, Pius Paschke, Martin Hamann, Severin Freund and Constantin Schmid are still part of the team. “ We don’t want to get in any unrest,” said Horngacher. In addition to Freitag and Wellinger, Moritz Baer, #Kilian Märkl, Luca Roth and David Siegel are no longer in Austria from the national group.
Friday had won the jumping in Innsbruck in 2015 and thus ended the winless series of the German team in the tour since 2002. This time he had at least reached the second round at the New Year’s competition in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, but with 27th place he did not provide sufficient arguments for a nomination. The end of the tour for the shapeless Wellinger, who is fighting for continuity after a knee operation, was practically certain after his failure in the qualification for the second jumping.
Geiger in second place on the tour and Eisenbichler in fifth are still well in the race at halftime at the traditional event. Hamann (28th), Paschke (29th), Freund (31st) and Schmid (44th), on the other hand, are already well behind in the ranking.
For the national coach, the longed-for first overall victory since Sven Hannawald in 2002 is not the only criterion for evaluating the result of the Four Hills Tournament as positive. “Of course, one goal is to win the tour. If we don’t make it, we can still go out with our heads held high, ”said Horngacher in Lans. “We provided the winner in Oberstdorf and are part of the show. It’s important to show that we’re fully in the running. If we don’t achieve overall victory, it won’t be a dilemma, ”said the 51-year-old Tyrolean.