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Sobering day for the Germans at the New Year's competition

When the currently best ski jumpers put on an impressive air show on the Olympic ski jump in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the Germans could only watch and marvel.

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Sobering day for the Germans at the New Year's competition

When the currently best ski jumpers put on an impressive air show on the Olympic ski jump in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the Germans could only watch and marvel. "They float down like nothing here," said national coach Stefan Horngacher, and Andreas Wellinger added appreciatively: "You just have to take your hat off." Above all, the Norwegian Halvor Egner Granerud fascinated with his jumps and after Oberstdorf also won the second competition of the Four Hills Tournament - this time in front of the Slovenian Anze Lanisek and the Polish overall World Cup leader Dawid Kubacki.

It was a sobering start to the year for the German ski jumpers: Wellinger, still close to the podium after the first round, ended up in eighth place, Geiger missed the top ten in eleventh place and Markus Eisenbichler again missed the second round. This is not surprising after the course of the season so far, and Wellinger in particular seems to be stabilizing and can be quite satisfied, but hopes for a clearer upward trend were high after the successful start of the tour in Oberstdorf. There Geiger in fourth and Wellinger in sixth were among the front runners. But now they are losing ground in the overall standings. Even if the jump in Innsbruck in particular kept messing up the rankings: after the four jumps, a podium place is a long way off.

At 13 degrees, it was an unusual start to the new year in ski jumping - far removed from typical winter weather. That didn't detract from the party mood of the 20,000 spectators who had made the pilgrimage to the hill since the morning, but Wellinger said the day before: "Ten degrees less would be nice, New Year's Eve and New Year's with 13 degrees is strange." The hill was thanks to the freezing cold and the snowfall two weeks ago, however, it was still well prepared. And at least Markus Eisenbichler was able to get something out of the spring weather: "I think it's awesome. The fans don't freeze, we don't freeze. What do you like more?”

For Geiger and Wellinger, this New Year's day was all about gaining more self-confidence and getting the chance of a podium finish in the overall standings. However, reaching for the Golden Eagle, the trophy for the winner, seemed out of reach after the start in Oberstdorf. There Geiger and Wellinger had shown surprisingly strong performances after the more than bumpy season up to that point, but the best jumped as stable as before Christmas, and Granerud was in a league of its own.

Geiger was early on the first day of the new year after failing at all in qualifying on New Year's Eve: 119 meters and only 30th place. Now he sped down the inrun track at 90.7 km/h, sailed into the valley - and shook his head immediately after landing at 131.5 meters. It got quieter in the ski jumping stadium. It wasn't a disaster and definitely better than in the qualification, but a top jump looks different. Karl Geiger still won his duel. Shortly thereafter, Wellinger had to get back on track. And the 2018 Olympic champion managed a much better jump than his teammate: 137 meters flashed on the scoreboard. Wellinger waved to the audience, clenched his fist and said to himself: "It's okay!"

Things didn't go so well for Eisenbichler, who missed the second round in Oberstdorf. After showing a slight upward trend in training and qualifying, he now caught difficult conditions and ended up at just 124 meters. Again the end in the first round, because the duel was won by his teammate Pius Paschke. But his anger was contained. "I'm just not stable enough to be able to perform well in difficult conditions," he analyzed. The conditions now remained difficult.

But the best defied the conditions, above all Granerud and Lanisek, who jumped on 140 and 140.5 meters. The Poles Zyla and Kubacki also pushed past Wellinger, who started the second round in fifth place, Geiger in tenth place.

As in Oberstdorf, 22-year-old Philipp Raimund celebrated in the final round: 15th place and thus again the third-best German. Raimund should be a permanent member of the World Cup team after the Four Hills Tournament and also have a good chance of a place in the squad for the World Championships (February 21 to March 5 in Planica). In Garmisch-Partenkirchen he left world champion Stefan Kraft behind. "I never expected that. All of a sudden I'm here and leaving well-known athletes behind me," said the youngster. Although Karl Geiger placed ahead of Raimund, he was less than satisfied with his performance that day.

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