The German Ski Association (DSV) will start the 66th 4-Hills-Tournament on Friday with a big team of 13 athletes, among them at least two top contenders for the prestigious overall title.
Besides the World Cup team, consisting of Richard Freitag, Andreas Wellinger, Markus Eisenbichler, Pius Paschke, Stephan Leyhe, Karl Geiger and Constantin Schmid, there will also be an additional national group for the events in Oberstdorf and Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
So far Moritz Baer, Martin Hamann, Felix Hoffmann, David Siegel and Andreas Wank were named to this group, one more ski jumper will be nominated after the Continental Cup in Engelberg.
After the outstanding performances of his team so far this season, head coach Werner Schuster can be optimistic for the upcoming 4-Hills-Tournament: "The thousands of fans in the sold-out stadiums will once again create a great atmosphere and this will be an additional support for us. It's a privilege that motivates us and we want to enjoy it. Our good shape is the result of the consequent and focused work in training. That's why we were also training in Oberstdorf after the last World Cup in Engelberg. Now we feel ready for the upcoming tasks.""Previous performances no guarantee for success"
The expectations of the public before the two home competitions in Oberstdorf and Garmisch-Partenkirchen rest mostly on the shoulders of overall World Cup leader Richard Freitag.
With three wins already this winter, the 26-year-old is now looking forward to the big event: "I'm very much looking forward to the full stadiums, the great crowd and the all the attention Ski Jumping gets during the 4-Hills-Tournament. As an athlete, it is a special feeling to sit on the starting bar and see the fans celebrating. The motivation to show long jumps is huge every year. I'm really enjoying Ski Jumping for a couple of weeks now and it's a good feeling to know that you are doing well. Of course, my previous performances are no guarantee for success at the 4-Hills-Tournament. It can go so fast in Ski Jumping and you can't conserve a good shape. But you can enjoy the time when it goes so well and, at the same, keep on working consistently and calmly. And that's exactly what I do."Small things are decisive
Andreas Wellinger, currently second in the overall World Cup behind his teammate, seems to be relatively relaxed before the start of the 4-Hills-Tournament: "I used the days after Engelberg for training and to work on the consistency of my jumps. After that, I celebrated Christmas with my family and cleared my mind."
The 22-year-old Bavarian knows, that everything is possible during these nine days: "I'm participating in the 4-Hills-Tournament since 2012 - with a break due to an injury in 2014. I already know that you can experience everything from a hill record in the qualification to failing to qualify for the second round. Small things will be decisive at the 4-Hills-Tournament again this year because the level of the world's elite is very, very high."