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Who will win the 65th 4-Hills-Tournament?
Realistically there are five or maybe six ski jumpers who can take the overall title of the 65th 4-Hills-Tournament, starting on Decembe 29th. But Ski Jumping is so complicated, that it’s almost impossible to predict results, especially for more than one competition. Even the smallest influences make a serial winner a Top 20 jumper and a Top 20 jumper a serial winner. And nobody really knows why. But isn’t that what makes Ski Jumping so exciting: Here are our favorites for the 65th 4-Hills-Tournament.
Top 1: Domen Prevc – Slovenia. World Cup rank 1: 540 points, 4 wins this season
Outstanding shape, always able to come in 20 points ahead of the world’s best ski jumpers with two top jumps. The 17-year-old is the top favorite of the 65th 4-Hills-Tournament. The statements of Domen Prevc shortly before the start of the 4-Hills reflect the way he jumps: Prevc doesn’t worry about what might happen. Care for some examples?
“All the hills are the same for me, I don’t see any difference. I’m going to the 4-Hills-Tournament relaxed, that’s the best way. I don’t see why I should worry about anything. For me the 4-Hills-Tournament only means that there are four competitions close together”, said the 17-year-old. The question will be: Can Prevc, whose style of jumping is considered “on the edge” by many experts (FIS Race Director Walter Hofer: “We are scared, because he isn’t”, Norway’s head coach Alexander Stoeckl: “Domen doesn’t have the gene of fear”) make up for the lack of experience with his outstanding technique and incredible coolness?
Top 2: Daniel-Andre Tande – Norway. World Cup rank 2: 382 points, 0 wins this season
If one of the world’s best athletes had bad luck during the course of the winter so far, then it was Tande. Just recently the Norwegian lost a well-deserved podium finish in Engelberg due to a crash. Tande is jumping on an extremely high level this winter, so far he was second three times and fourth twice. With a good start in Oberstdorf and the necessary amount of luck, which he didn’t have so far, he can keep up with Domen Prevc and win the 4-Hills-Tournament.
Top 3: Kamil Stoch – Poland. World Cup rank 4: 323 points, 1 win this season
Slowly but surely, the double Olympic champion from Sochi is starting to really fly. Right on time for the start of the 4-Hills-Tournament, Stoch is presenting himself in a top shape, after some problems earlier this winter. Now Stoch could follow in the footsteps of Adam Malysz, who won the 4-Hills-Tournament for Poland 2000/01. Like the entire Polish team, Stoch found back to his old strength under the new head coach Stefan Horngacher. But the competition, first and foremost Domen Prevc and Daniel Andre Tande, won’t make it easy for the Pole.
Top 4: Stefan Kraft – Austria. World Cup rank 3: 331 points, 0 wins this season
Fourth on our list of favorites, but extremely dangerous. Kraft is the only one of the top favorites, who already won the 4-Hills-Tournament (2014/15) und, what’s even more important, he consistently improved this winter from Kuusamo to Engelberg. Kraft will probably be in top shape for the opener in Oberstdorf. And Stefan Kraft in top shape is on the same level as Domen Prevc. Then the form on the day of competition will decide, or the experience. And the experience speaks clearly in favor of the 23-year-old from the ski club SV Schwarzach.
Top 5: Michael Hayboeck – Austria. World Cup rank 9: 243 points, 1 win this season
Even though others are ahead of Hayboeck in the current World Cup ranking, also the second Austrian among the top favorites is in his best shape at the right time. His win in Engelberg last week shows that Hayboeck is in top shape right on time. Hayboeck was second in the 4-Hills-Tournament 2014/15, close behind his teammate Stefan Kraft. Last year he finished third. If the 25-year-old of the club UVB Hinzenbach has a good start in Oberstdorf, he will fight for the overall title of the 65th 4-Hills-Tournament.
Top 6: Severin Freund – Germany. World Cup rank 5: 288 points, 1 win this season
The win and the second place of Severin Freund at the season opening in Kuusamo (FIN) came as a surprise and, what’s clear now: it came too early. With all his experience Freund was able to achieve two top results at the Polar Circle after his hip surgery and a long break. The following results of Freund in Klingenthal (11th), Lillehammer (11th and 26th) and Engelberg (10th and 9th) show what the 28-year-old is capable of at the moment. But his shape shows an upward trend and Freund might be able to surprise at the 65th 4-Hills-Tournament, if everything works out in his favor.
Top 7: Peter Prevc – Slovenia, World Cup rank 13: 140 points, 0 wins this season
While the injury, with the following surgery and the long break, explains the mediocre results of Severin Freund this winter, Peter Prevc is far behind the world’s elite for weeks now without any logical reason. The places 26 and 33 in Engelberg were the highlight of the inexplicable crisis of Peter Prevc. Ski Jumping is often a mental issue, but there hasn’t been such a drastic example in a while. Prevc still knows how to ski jump, but it’s just not working right now. The 24-year-old lacks the feeling in the air. But the defending champion and high-flyer of last winter can get in shape during the ten days between the last World Cup and the 4-Hills-Tournament. Maybe he will even be able to fight for the overall title again. Watch out for Peter Prevc.
Top 8: Markus Eisenbichler – Germany, World Cup rank 7: 269 points, 0 wins this season
The 25-year-old Bavarian of the club TSV Siegsdorf is without a doubt the discovery in the German team. With consistently strong performance and a third place in Lillehammer, Eisenbichler is an insider tip for the 4-Hills-Tournament. It would definitely be more than a surprise if Eisenbichler would really be able to fight for the overall title. But it’s well known that the 4-Hills-Tournament follows its own rules and sometimes the favorites win, but only sometimes.
And then there are other contestants, who should not be underestimated: Manuel Fettner and Andreas Kofler (AUT), strong Poles around Maciej Kot, Dawid Kubacki and Piotr Zyla, and who knows who else.
One doesn’t have to look back a long time to find a totally surprising winner of the 4-Hills-Tournament: 2013/14 Thomas Diethart of Austria won the overall title, and nobody expected that before. And that’s exactly what makes the 4-Hills-Tournament special.
With this in mind: We hope for four exciting competitions. At the end, the one with the most points will win, and it will be the right one – Let’s go!