The German ski jumpers were seldom as hopeless as they were on the huge airfield in Planica.
First, none of the athletes made it into the top 15 in the individual event, then the quartet of Felix Hoffmann, Markus Eisenbichler, Karl Geiger and Andreas Wellinger lost almost 200 meters in the last team competition of the winter to the winner, Austria, with the outstanding Stefan Kraft, who also won the individual event .
In glorious sunshine, Wellinger and Co. tried to quickly forget the sporting setback and find distraction at the annual barbecue in the valley of the Schanzen. "It's a cool ending. Everyone brings specialties from their own country. We'll enjoy it as a ski jumping family," Wellinger announced on ARD. He's already looking forward to "one or two beers," said Eisenbichler about the fixed ritual on the penultimate day of the season.
Wind causes displacement
Unlike on Friday, when strong winds made jumping impossible, this time it started at 8:45 am. A single round and two scheduled team rounds went off without a hitch - each with sobering results for the German Ski Association (DSV) team. In the singles, Eisenbichler (17th), Wellinger (20th) and Geiger (25th) were already clearly behind.
In the team, not only the winner Austria (Kraft, Daniel Tschofenig, Jan Hörl, Michael Hayböck) was significantly stronger, but also the Slovenians around Timi Zajc and the Norwegians around Halvor Egner Granerud. Even the fourth-placed Poles were almost 100 points ahead of the quartet of national coach Stefan Horngacher who had no chance. The former world champion Dawid Kubacki, who ended his season prematurely because his wife is struggling with major health problems, was absent from Poland.
"The season wasn't easy for us. As a team, we definitely couldn't call up the quality we have," said Wellinger as a kind of summary of the season. Apart from the successful World Championships, which also took place in Planica, it was a sobering winter for the athletes, who often couldn't keep up with the high-flyers around Norway's Granerud and daily winner Kraft. "It was a difficult fight," said the last German Four Hills Tournament winner, Sven Hannawald.
At least Geiger, who started the long weekend stricken, was able to describe a slight upward trend. "It's getting better every day. The jumping went surprisingly well. I'll survive the weekend," said the man from Oberstdorf. The last individual on Sunday (10 a.m. / ARD and Eurosport) marks the end of the winter sports season - and will decide whether Granerud or Kraft wins the trophy as the best ski flyer of the winter. The German team had nothing to do with such trophies this season.