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Four Hills Tournament: Andreas Fellinger needs more than just a furniture store – the real duels in Bischofshofen

Four Hills Tournament: Andreas Fellinger needs more than just a furniture store – the real duels in Bischofshofen

Andreas Wellinger did not worry about his sleep before Epiphany. “I slept like a baby last night. This should work tonight too,” he said at the foot of Paul-Außerleitner-Schanze in Bischofshofen. Eurosport.

Bad for Willinger: Ryoyu Kobayashi took the win with ease and goes into Saturday with confidence. Willinger's Japanese rival, who leads the German by 4.8 points in the Tour classifications after three of four events (general classification), jumped a massive ten meters and thus won the winner's check for 3,000 Swiss francs (3,225 euros).

So that Kobayashi does not also receive the Golden Eagle and the 100,000 francs (107,500 euros) prize for the winner of the tournament on Epiphany, Willinger will have to correct some mistakes in his jump. “For tomorrow, it's: bring more lightness, more flow — and then get to the edge better,” said 2018 Olympic champion Normal Hill.

Kobayashi sails away from Wellinger – Qualifying highlights

Wellinger had particular problems with timing on the take-off table. Maybe he should “stop at IKEA and get a longer table,” the Oberstdorf winner joked on ARD. But this alone certainly does not do it.

The real duels of Bischoffshoven.

1.) Willinger on the take-off table

Again, it wasn't a question of speed: Willinger was driving 1.1 km/h faster than Kobayashi in qualifying, so he already had the right speed. However, something went wrong for the German during the jump.

“The idea was right, but I completely missed the take-off table,” he said in his best ski jumping language. What he meant by that: After a wrong first practice jump (128m) and a good second (138m), Willinger in the qualifying round focused on an approach position that was a little more “from the shoulder line”, but the jump was “five metres” wasted.

“It was a day's work. It was a little tough, but that doesn't mean anything,” Wellinger said as he immediately confirmed his qualifying jump.

But Willinger still has some homework to do before Saturday. “I have the impression that it is more than just timing,” analyzed Martin Schmidt Eurosport: “That's not even ten metres. I also think his approach position is quite high.” The transition to flying did not go smoothly either.

The following applies now to the DSV team: “Work well, analyze well, and start your day with clear instructions. Then things should look completely different in the test run,” Schmidt said. Ideally, Fellinger will emerge after the tournament as the first German winner since Sven Hannawald in 2002. But one thing is clear: “Andy is going to need a great performance to keep up with the Japanese,” he said. Eurosport-Expert Werner Schuster.


Taking off too late: Willinger misses the counters in the playoffs

2.) Kobayashi against the weather

What Ryoyu Kobayashi showed on Friday in Bischofshofen was indeed worthy of a Tour winner: 140 meters in the first test round, clearing the second jump with ease, then 138 meters in qualifying – with two easy wins in the Tour, the Japanese proved they were more than prepared. For the duel Wellinger. “Boy, don't get your hopes up, that's the message I'm sending,” Schuster said as co-commentator. Eurosport– Transmission impressed.

Willinger had a similar view: “He's one of the best ski jumpers ever, and you have to admit that without envy. He's the favorite, and he proved it today.” What might stop the Japanese is the fickle weather – rain is expected in Bischofshofen on the occasion of Epiphany, which can easily turn to snow in the afternoon. The skier likes to talk about difficult conditions.

The fact that 15 more players between Willinger and Kobayashi must come off the crossbar in Saturday's first round could tip the scales. “It will be a very exciting day,” said national team coach Stefan Horngacher excitedly. If Kobayashi slows down a bit due to the track becoming wetter and possibly snow-covered, Willinger could take first place heading into the final round. “He has been fast all season, and that will work in his favor tomorrow with the forecast weather,” hopes Schmidt.

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Confident qualifying win! Kobayashi announces before the end of the round

There are only 4.8 points separating the two, 2.67 meters – a small number for a hill the size of 142. In the history of the Tour, there have been 11 times in the history of the Tour that the leader has been less than five points ahead of the leader. The last round led the jump. The leader achieved overall victory six times, and another jumper won five times. Wellinger can reach 6:6.

However, if Kobayashi restores his lead on Saturday, he will tie Kamil Stoch (Poland), Helmut Recknagel (Germany) and Björn Wirkola (Norway) with three overall wins – and with ski jumping greats like Matti Nykanen (Finland). Andreas Goldberger and Gregor Schlerenzauer (both Austria/2 victories).

Jaan Ahonen's (FIN/Five Tour wins) record would be just two titles away – that's no longer out of the question for the 27-year-old, who doesn't seem to be worried about such mind games.

However, the Japanese once again allowed himself to be carried away with only a few scraps of words on Friday. “It's special here, but I like it,” said the winner of the Bischofshofen from 2019 and 2022, which means he has won the Tour twice. “The jumps were good, especially the second one.” He said that and left in a good mood.

3.) Strength against disappointment in the round


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The last few days have also been disappointing for Stefan Krafft: after five wins from eight World Cup competitions before the Tour, the overall winner of the 2014/15 season was favourite, but he slipped after third place in Oberstdorf due to poor performances in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (6th) and Innsbruck. (VI).) They return to the general arrangement. “It was an unfortunate round for him,” summed up Schuster, the Eurosport expert, “He was always unlucky in the wind and made the wrong jump at the wrong time.”

So a three-way Austrian battle broke out for the last place in the “Stückerl”: the winner of Innsbruck, Jan Hörl (3rd) and Kraft (4th) are currently separated by 5.7 meters in the overall standings, but Michael Haiboeck (5th) also still has a chance to take third place 13.9 meters behind Hörl.

In Bischofshofen, Kraft made people sit up and take notice again with a second place in qualifying (134m). However, it seems almost impossible for one of ÖSV's stars to reach the top of the podium after Kobayashi's strong qualification and performance. Hörl went over the top in front of his home crowd and ended up only eighth with a distance of 129 metres, while Hayböck was only sixteenth with the same distance.


Patience leads to success: Kraft shines in Bischofshofen qualifiers

So Kraft has to pull Austrian coal from the fire on Epiphany. Pongauer wants to win today and at least extend his lead in the World Cup overall. But the 30-year-old also knows that “Ryoyo is in great shape and really strong. He's the guy you have to beat.”