At the end of the World Championships in Slovenia, the German ski jumpers clearly missed the targeted team medal.
At another Slovenian winter party in Planica, Andreas Wellinger, Karl Geiger, Markus Eisenbichler and Constantin Schmid only managed a disappointing fifth place. The host quartet secured victory on the large hill ahead of Norway and Austria. Germany entered the competition in the picturesque valley of the hills as defending champions.
After the victory of local hero Timi Zajc the day before, Eisenbichler had given the German title defense as a goal. At the home world championships in Oberstdorf two years ago, he won together with Geiger, Severin Freund and Pius Paschke. But this time Slovenia, Norway, Austria and Poland were too strong.
"That probably cost us the medal"
The team also gambled away in the second round: In order to catch up, national coach Stefan Horngacher shortened the inrun before Eisenbichler jumped and hoped for bonus points. Eisenbichler would have had to jump 131 meters for this, but jumped just too short: the 31-year-old landed after 130.5 meters.
"At first I thought it was enough," Eisenbichler said on ARD. He was still cheering right after his jump. "That probably cost us the medal," said Eisenbichler, who was annoyed about the process before the inrun was shortened. "Perhaps a hatch would have been enough," he said. "It wasn't agreed with me either. That's also a bit of a shame." He was comforted by his girlfriend, who was there live.
Around 5,000 fans at the hill created a festive mood and cheered their heroes around Zajc euphorically. Geiger's wife Franziska and his little daughter Luisa were also excited about the hill. However, the two-year-old was not yet able to do much with her father's sport. "She just plays here, enjoys and has fun," said Franziska Geiger and laughed.
Very successful World Cup for the DSV
Despite missing out on the podium, her husband and his team achieved more at the World Championships than previously expected. Wellinger won silver and Geiger bronze in the individual on the normal hill. In the mixed team, the two Bavarians euphorically celebrated gold with three-time world champion Katharina Althaus and Selina Freitag.
Even before the final cross-country race over 50 kilometers on Sunday, the German Ski Association can look back on a very successful World Cup across all disciplines. DSV athletes won twelve medals in the title fights (three gold, six silver, three bronze). German athletes had never won so many medals at a Nordic World Ski Championships.