IThe two German hopefuls quickly found their fun and humor, even if they were only allowed to witness the award ceremony at the New Year’s competition in Garmisch-Partenkirchen from afar. “I flew like an angel”, said Markus Eisenbichler with a laugh while he was interviewing each other with his friend Karl Geiger and confirmed that he was “a piece of cake” in the second round. “We’re really still within striking distance, aren’t we?” Asked Geiger, who had won the first competition in Oberstdorf. “Yes!” Replied Eisenbichler. “We’ll show those up there again.”
The best is already on this Saturday at the qualification in Innsbruck (1.30 p.m. ARD / Eurosport) to fill up with enough self-confidence for the jumping on Sunday. Innsbruck of all places. “We both used the toilet there,” said Geiger. And not just the two.
“Up there”, as Eisenbichler said, landed the Pole Dawid Kubacki on the first day of the new year, who set a hill record with a fabulous flight at 144 meters. Second was the Norwegian and new tour leader Halvor Egner Granerud ahead of Piotr Zyla from Poland. Geiger had to be content with fifth place, Eisenbichler with seventh place.
The Germans have been waiting for a victory in the New Year’s competition for 19 years – just as long as for the coup in the overall classification. The tour triumph, however, and that is the most important thing, is still possible at halftime, especially for Geiger, who still has the best chances. But Eisenbichler doesn’t have to give up yet either.
Hospital instead of touring fight
A strong competitor in the fight for the Golden Eagle could not even compete in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and will not be present at the third stop on the tour: The Norwegian Marius Lindvik, third from Oberstdorf and last year’s winner of the New Year’s Jumping, was in because of a bad toothache Driven to the hospital and operated on the jaw on New Year’s Eve.
“He had an abscess behind a wisdom tooth that led to inflammation and a lock in the jaw,” reported Norway’s trainer Alexander Stoeckl. And so the hopes of the Scandinavians rested on the overall World Cup leader Granerud, fourth from Oberstdorf. In the first round, he took the lead. Tour defending champion Kubacki had previously put the competition under pressure with 139 meters.
When it was Geiger’s turn, of all places, conditions deteriorated. And the 27-year-old couldn’t do any magic that day: 131 meters, rank 14th. The Oberstdorf resident touched his ski jumping helmet with disappointment – despite the difficult wind, a little more would have been possible. “It was very, very difficult to jump,” said national coach Stefan Horngacher, “Karl was a little late when he took off, but I was actually satisfied.” Eisenbichler put himself in a better starting position: 137.5 meters, fourth and a loud scream.
In the second round, Geiger had to imitate his friend Eisenbichler, who had catapulted himself from 27th to fourth place with a spectacular second jump in Oberstdorf. And Geiger kept his nerve: 138 meters. All opportunities preserved. Eisenbichler missed the big opportunity to start the year on the podium with 134 meters in the second run and fell behind his teammates. For the overall standings this means: Granerud is just four points ahead of Geiger. Nothing has been decided yet. Eisenbichler’s deficit in fifth is 24 points.
Tour off for the Olympic champion
Far from such placements is someone who was second overall in 2018: Olympic champion Andreas Wellinger. The 25-year-old Bavarian missed the qualification for the New Year’s competition on New Year’s Eve afternoon. After his one and a half year forced break due to a torn cruciate ligament, he has been searching in vain for his flight feeling. Bitter: Since Horngacher now has to reduce his team from twelve to six athletes, this means Wellinger’s tour is canceled. “Sooner or later,” he says, “the knot will open again.”
Richard Freitag and Severin Freund hope so too. After Freund in Oberstdorf was the only German next to Geiger and Eisenbichler to jump into the second round, he missed it this time. In contrast to Friday, for which 2021 started better than 2020 ended. “I would just put a very, very big hook on the year because it was really a shit-and-so-on year. Really really bad, ”said the 29-year-old team world champion. In the end he finished 27th, Pius Paschke 16th, Martin Hamann eleventh.
Bergisel and the Germans
The jumpers continued to Innsbruck on Friday evening. A difficult and wind-prone hill awaits you on the Bergisel. And one that has not exactly been one of the Germans’ favorites in the past touring years. In 2016, for example, Freund fell there in second place in the overall standings and lost important points.
Two years later it caught Friday, also in second place in the standings. Like Freund, Friday also crashed shortly after landing, even in almost the same place. Afterwards there were heated discussions about the preparation of the landing slope.
Eisenbichler then left too many points in the battle for overall victory in 2019 as 13th. But February of the same year brought relief: Eisenbichler won the World Championship gold from the Bergisel ski jump ahead of Geiger. Double victory on the Germans’ mountain of fate.
Neither of them could confirm that on the previous tour – Geiger was only eighth in the Innsbruck Wind Lottery after two second places – but they know: it can work out on the Bergisel. You were already on the podium there.