Team Germany used their chances while two of their strongest opponents blinked: Eric Frenzel, Fabian Rießle, Johannes Rydzek and Vinzenz Geiger set a dominant victory and finished one minute and five seconds ahead of Team Japan in the final Team Event of the Ruka weekend.
Go Yamamoto, Yoshito Watabe, Hideaki Nagai and Akito Watabe celebrated the first Japanese team podium result since Ruka in 2013 but were also able to build on two disqualifications that took Team Norway and Team Austria out of the running for the top results. Norway minimised the damages with a strong performance on the track. They salvaged the third place, one minute and 48 seconds behind the Germans.
Again, the jumping round was held in changing wind conditions but ultimately all athletes were able to get their jump. The competition shaped up to be a duel between four teams: Austria, Japan, Germany and Norway were all jumping on a good level.
Especially the brothers Watabe delivered on the jumping hill and showed jumps of 139 (136.4 p.) and 140 metres (134.6 p.) in groups three and four. The longest jump of the day was set by Jan Schmid for team Norway: he showed 141 metres (125.4 p.). Unfortunately, both Lukas Greiderer (AUT) and Jarl Riiber (NOR) were disqualified due to suit infractions and took their teams out of the race for the victory.
In the end, Team Japan started their race with a head start of one minute and five seconds ahead of team Germany. Superstar Eric Frenzel lead his squad with a jump of 134.5 metres (120 p.). In third position, Team Poland had a chance for a good result. Szczepan Kupczak mastered Ruka’s jumping hill with a jump of 135.5 metres (123.9 p.) and gave his team the intermediate third position, +2:40 behind the leaders from Japan.
While the first two positions seemed to be battled out between Japan and Germany, position three was up for grabs and the fight was on between Poland, the Czech Republic (+2:44) and Austria (+2:51), who started within 11 seconds of each other. Team Norway had a little longer way to go and began their race with a time behind of +3:22. France and the local heroes from Finland both had a black day on the jumping hill and were out of the contention for the top ranks.
Japan started their lonely race with Go Yamamoto who had Eric Frenzel inching closer and closer to him on the first 5 km. The German reduced the time behind to 7.1 seconds at the first exchange. Also Yoshito Watabe was no match for Fabian Rießle and not only did the Rießle close the gap, he also set an attack and left the Japanese behind. The German advantage grew to 19 seconds at the halfway point of the race. Johannes Rydzek and Vinzenz Geiger were able to enjoy their respective legs and still increased the gap to over one minute at the 7.5 km point and the finish line. For their part, Team Japan defended their second place well and had 44 seconds on the following teams at the finish line.
Behind the two top teams, the fight for position three turned into the true battle on the track. Especially the Norwegian team was impressive with Jarl Magnus Riiber closing the final gap to Willi Denifl on his leg of the race. Czech Lukas Danek had an absolutely impressive race and fought tooth and nail to stay with Riiber and Denifl in the third group of skiers but had to let go at the end. With a strong Jørgen Graabak to finish things up, Norway claimed their podium +1:48.4 behind Team Germany but 29 seconds ahead of Team Austria who ended their day on rank four. The Czech Republic was fifth, Poland sixth, France seventh, Finland eighth and Russia ninth.