Among the seven ski jumpers, German head coach Stefan Horngacher named to his team for the season opener in Wisla (POL) is also Andreas Wellinger. This means that the Olympic champion will make his comeback in the World Cup after a long break due to an injury.
"It was about time that there are competitions again. The last time I competed was in March 2019. After a year and eight months, it's definitely time to start again. That's why I'm really looking forward to the season opener. It was a long and difficult period for me to fight for my comeback after the knee injury. I was able to train well, the body works fine. The training was, as it often is in Ski Jumping, sometimes better and sometimes worse - but all in all, I'm satisfied", said Wellinger, who sustain an ACL tear during a training session in summer 2019.
Any specific results are now not the goals of the 25-year-old for his first competitions after such a long time. "My goal is to gain experiences, getting to compete again with a bib on. I have to get used to all this again, score points, and can't expect being on the podium again right away. Of course, this is a goal, but at first, it's about competing again. Hopefully, we will have a strong German team this winter, whatever the season will be like. We will give our best!"
Freitag not on the World Cup team
Besides Andreas Wellinger, Karl Geiger, Markus Eisenbichler, Severin Freund, Pius Paschke, Constantin Schmid and Martin Hamann will also compete in Wisla. Richard Freitag could not qualify for the season opener.
"We had a total of four competitions within our team. In these competitions, Markus Eisenbichler, Karl Geiger, Pius Paschke, Constantin Schmid, Martin Hamann, Severin Freund, and Andreas Wellinger qualified for the World Cup team. For the seventh place, it was a close race between Richard Freitag, Andreas Wellinger, and David Siegel. These three are actually on the same level, Andreas Wellinger came in just ahead of the others. This doesn't mean that we will always be on the team. He has to perform well in the World Cup. The other two will get their chance", explains Stefan Horngacher.
High expectations are, of course, on Karl Geiger, who finished second in last season's overall World Cup. Just a few days before the first competitions of the winter he sees room for improvement in his performances, but, just like his teammates, he is looking forward to the weekend: "I'm extremely looking forward to Wisla. We had no competitions all summer so it's time that we get to compete again and see what our jumps are worth. The training went pretty well. I'm not completely satisfied with my jumps yet. Over the last couple of weeks I have been struggling a bit, but I'm now on the right track again. I'm excited to see where I stand performance-wise right now."