The two Germans Richard Freitag and Andreas Wellinger start the upcoming 4-Hills-Tournament as first and second in the overall World Cup, but the two local heroes don't feel any additional pressure before the opening event in Oberstdorf.
"The pressure has always been there because everyone was always talking about when a German will finally win the 4-Hills-Tournament again. Now we are in a better position than in the last years, that's why there is maybe less pressure now", Richard Freitag said at the opening press conference in Oberstdorf on Thursday afternoon.
His teammate Andreas Wellinger also doesn't want to put too much pressure on himself because of the high expectations of the public. "The cards are always reshuffled before the 4-Hills-Tournament. Where we are right now is the result of hard work and that's why I believe that we are better prepared right now than in the last years. We will see what's on the result lists at the end."
Overall World Cup leader Richard Freitag enjoys a true home-field advantage in Oberstdorf after he is living and training here since last summer. Now the 26-year-old is hoping for a good start in his second home: "Hopefully I'll have a good training tomorrow and a good start into the Tournament. We did everything we could in order to be ready to show good performances during this 4-Hills."
Despite the outstanding performances so far this winter, Richard Freitag is well aware of the fact that the international competition will not give up the battle for the overall title without a fight. "It's very, very close. Many ski jumpers are jumping really well right now. I'm looking forward to the competitions. I'm in a very good and stable shape, so let's wait and see what the next days will bring. There are always surprises at the 4-Hills-Tournament and that's what makes it interesting."
Head coach Werner Schuster also considers his team in a better position than in the recent years. "Of course it's a lot better go into the next six weeks, with the 4-Hills-Tournament, the Ski Flying World Championships and the Olympic Games, with such good results already in the bag. But in sports, you have to prove yourself every day. I'm excited to see how the guys will be doing. My feeling is positive and now I hope for some great days of competition."