Many favorites for the 63rd 4-Hills-Tournament
Loitzl, Kofler, Morgenstern, Schlierenzauer (2) and Diethart. This is not the Austrian team for the upcoming 4-Hills-Tournament, these are the 4-HIlls winners of the past six years.
In the past the Austrians turned the German-Austrian 4-Hills-Tournament into a solely Austrian tournament without batting an eyelash. It might continue like that this year, but it will be difficult for the athletes of Heinz Kuttin, very, very difficult.
The competition is stronger and the level on top is higher and tighter than it has been for a long time. This might become one of the most exciting 4-Hills-Tournaments in the past 20 years.
But first things first, we will present some of the favorites for the overall title at the 63rd 4-Hills-Tournament.
Anders Fannemel (NOR), 25 years old, in the World Cup for 5 years - 1 World Cup win
For the extremely strong Norwegian this is the best winter of his career. He will go to Oberstdorf wearing the Yellow Bib of the World Cup leader and the self-confidence that comes with it.
This winter he impresses with his consistency, only in the first competition in Engelberg he didn't do that well and was 21st.
A prime candidate for the overall win.
Roman Koudelka (CZE), 25 years old, in the World Cup for 8 years - 3 World Cup wins
In the past he was often set back by illnesses and injuries. This year he is in a great shape, physically and mentally.
Even though he skipped the two competitions in Nizhny Tagil, he is currently second in the overall World Cup.
With Richard Schallert (the Austrian was head coach of the Russian team before) the Czech team now seems to have a coach, who can work well together with Koudelka. "Richie does a great job, I'm only the pilot", Koudelka said after one of his wins.
He already won three World Cup competitions this winter.
Simon Ammann (SUI), 33 years old, in the World Cup for 17 years - 23 World Cup wins
Champion who won - almost - everything
2 wins in Kuusamo/Ruka and a second place in Engelberg, Ammann started the season strong.
Whoever wants to win the 63rd 4-Hills-Tournament will have to beat the brilliant Swiss, who is definitely capable of winning the overall title in his current shape and with his enormous experience.
Ammann has won everything already - except the 4-Hills-Tournament
Michael Hayboeck (AUT), 23 years old, in the World Cup for 5 years - no World Cup win
Hayboeck was third four times this season already and is extremely consistent on the highest level.
The young Austrian is absolutely right when he says: "if I'm able to continue jumping on the same level I did in Engelberg, I will stand on top of the podium soon."
If he, for example, will take his first win in Oberstdorf, then Hayboeck will immediately become the top favorite for the 4-Hills-Tournament. There's a reason why the Austrian is the insider tip of Simon Ammann.
Severin Freund (GER), 26 years old, in the World Cup for 7 years - 10 World Cup wins
The career goal of Severin Freund is to win the overall World Cup, but it would definitely also be okay for the calm and likable athlete of the ski club DJK Rastbuechl if he would win the 4-Hills-Tournament.
Freund is in a good shape, he proved that with his win in Nizhny Tagil a few days ago.
As reigning Ski Flying World Champion, Freund also has the necessary self-confidence and the fans in Oberstdorf and Garmisch-Partenkirchen will play their part so that Freund will be able to fight for the win at the 63rd 4-Hills-Tournament for as long as possible.
Peter Prevc (SLO), 22 years old, in the World Cup for 5 years - 3 World Cup wins
Prevc is the youngest athlete among the top favorites.
The runner-up of last season's overall World Cup has incredible potential and a great feeling in the air.
Prevc wasn't able to win so far this winter, but he got better and better. It would be no surprise if the Slovene would win the overall title at the 63rd 4-Hills-Tournament.
And there are other names who have realistic chances to win: Noriaki Kasai (JPN), Gregor Schlierenzauer (AUT), Anders Bardal (NOR), Jernej Damjan (SLO) Richard Freitag and still the winner might not have been mentioned.
Who considered Austrian Thomas Diethart one of the favorites for the win before the start of the 4-Hills-Tournament last winter?
The one who wins the overall title, will not only get the usual World Cup prize money (71 800,- CHF for the Top 30), but also an extra 20 000,- CHF. The winners of the four qualifications will get 2 000,- Euro.