Andreas Wellinger takes the home win in Willingen
Andreas Wellinger ended the weekend in Willingen with a triumph in front of his home crowd. After the 21-year-old Bavarian already won the qualification on Friday and was the outstanding athlete in Saturday's team event, he took the indivdiual win on Sunday with 242.3 points, close ahead of the two Austrians Stefan Kraft (242.0 points) and Manuel Fettner (241.0 points).
This was the second win in the World Cup for Wellinger, the first on German soil. He celebrated his first World Cup win on January 16th, 2014 in Wisla (POL). Wellinger was already on the podium recently in third and second in Wisla and Zakopane.
"It was incredibly close today, 4 athletes were separated by just 2 points. I tried really hard to get over that green line and it's amazing that I could win by 0.3 points. I don't think the conditions today were very difficult. Now I'm looking forward to the Ski Flying event in Oberstdorf next weekend. We are jumping on a new hill and I would like to improve my personal best of 218 m", Wellinger summed up the day and already looked ahead to the upcoming Ski Flying World Cup in Oberstdorf.
Despite the fact that he was only 0.3 points behind the winner, Stefan Kraft was very satisfied with his second place. "I'm really satisfied with the weekend here in Willingen, especially the first round was very good today. In the second round it got extremely close. Of course I would have wanted come out on top, but Andi Wellinger's win is well-deserved, he was the best this weekend. We have a really strong team and we are also happy that Gregor Schlierenzauer is back again", Kraft said about the weekend in Willingen.
Kraft's teammate Manuel Fettner was also happy about this third place: "This weekend was great for me and for the whole team. I had two very good jumps today and I'm really satisfied with my performance. Maybe I can achieve my first win in the World Cup this winter, that's what I'm working for", said Fettner.
17 600 fans at the Muehlenkopf-hill on Sunday saw a competition under once again difficult and changing wind conditions. Norway's Daniel Andre Tande, who was in the lead after the first round, was struggling with these conditions in the final. After an amazing jump of 149.5 m in the first round, Tande landed already at 134 m in the final and was fourth, only 1.9 points behind the winner. Tande was obviously very disappointed, he wanted to achieve a lot more in this event in Willingen.
World Cup leader Kamil Stoch of Poland came in fifth and also thought that it wasn't easy today. "The conditions were really difficult today. The wind was changing fast and often. But I'm really satisfied with my fifth place here in Willingen", said Stoch.
Michael Hayboeck and Gregor Schlierenzauer in sixth and seventh provided an oustanding result of the Austrian team of head coach Heinz Kuttin. Schlierenzauer is definitely on his way back to the world's elite. He will already be one of the contestants for top results next weekend in the Ski Flying World Cup in Oberstdorf.
Jurij Tepes and Peter Prevc were the best Slovenes in eighth and ninth. Russia's Evgeniy Klimov confirmed his consistent shape this winter in 11th. Klimov is now 17th in the overall World Cup with 246 points, that's really strong. Piotr Zyla, Maciej Kot, Dawid Kubacki and Jan Ziobro were 10th, 13th, 14th and 15th and achieved a strong result for the Polish team, even if it wasn't enough for a top result after their win in the team competition yesterday.
Apart from Wellinger's win, it was a disappointing competition for the German team: Second-best German was Markus Eisenbichler in 18th, local hero Stephan Leyhe and Richard Freitag could not meet the expectations in 20th and 23rd, Karl Geiger and Andreas Wank failed to make the cut for the final in 36th and 40th. But still head coach Werner Schuster was satisfied: "It went better and better for our team over the past weeks. We were close to the win yesterday and deserved being on the podium. I'm happy for Andreas Wellinger, he already won before and now he fought back after difficult times. Of course luck also played a role today, but he was the best jumper this weekend. Now I hope that he'll continue working that well."
Kamil Stoch leads the overall World Cup with 978 points, ahead of Daniel Andre Tande (853 points) and Slovenia's Domen Prevc (786 points).
The World Cup continues next weekend with two Ski Flying competitions in Oberstdorf (GER).