Werner Schuster: "We will give our all in Neustadt"
After the World Cup opening in Klingenthal, the German jumpers can now look forward to competitions in front of their home crowd again. So far a German athlete was on the podium in every individual competition in the World Cup this winter, of course this raises the expectations for the upcoming home events in Titisee-Neustadt.
Fans and media hope for a German success also this weekend, but head coach Werner Schuster knows that it won't be easy. "At the moment the world class is pretty tight. Gregor Schlierenzauer already won twice this winter, then there are Severin Freund, Norwegian Anders Bardal, Morgenstern and the Japanese. I hope that we can be on the podium again in Neustadt. If everything goes well, a German can win. But there are at least ten contenders for the win. The World Cup in Neustadt will be an intense competition", the Austrian said in an interview with the newspaper "Badische Zeitung". But there's one promise the coach can make to the fans: "I can only say it like a soccer coach: We will give our all in Neustadt."
With Andreas Wellinger, Marinus Kraus, Richard Freitag and Severin Freund, four different athletes of the young German team were already in the Top 3 this season, for the coach this is, of course, a perfect start of the winter. "This is huge, and it didn't start only yesterday, but a couple of years ago. Horst Huettel, sports director of the German Ski Association (DSV), and I started to turn the ski jumping system inside out when I took the job in 2008. You can plan to bring jumpers up to the world class, but in order to win you need the right athletes.
In the last three or four years we were able to improve the level of performance in Germany step by step. Severin Freund and Richard Freitag are constants already. Marinus Kraus showed consistent performances in the Continental Cup for a few years and has a good chance to establish himself in the World Cup team. I'm really more than happy with this team."
The 44-year-old says that he doesn't have a special secret of success. "There's no secret. I'm an advocate of a functioning team-system, meaning an A-, B-, C-Team, World Cup, Continental Cup, Alpencup. The various coaches have to cooperate closely. And then there are two main factors: the technical and physical training of the German ski jumpers. This has to be standardized. It took years until this model was accepted by all the club coaches. Karl Geiger and Andreas Wellinger, who won the Summer Grand Prix, are the first jumpers who were educated according to this philosophy and now have the chance to become world class athletes."
With the strength of this German team, it gets more and more difficult for veteran Martin Schmitt to achieve his goal of competing at the Olympics. The four-time World Champion will also not be on the team for the home events in the Black Forest. "Martin was not consistent enough over the past weeks and months. His best jumps were never good enough to earn a spot on the World Cup team. Schmitt is currently not one of the seven best German ski jumpers. He has to get back on track in the Continental Cup, maybe he can then surprise with good results at the 4-Hills-Tournament, just like he did last year", Schuster told the newspaper "Badische Zeitung".
Severin Freund, Richard Freitag, Andreas Wellinger, Marinus Kraus, Michael Neumayer, Karl Geiger and Andreas Wank are on the German team for the two World Cup competitions in Titisee-Neustadt on December 14th and 15th.