Stefan horngacher and his best ski jumper have something in common. The national coach and karl geiger are pretty much the opposite of what you would call a "loudspeaker".
When horngacher talks about the prospects of success for the german four hills tour hopeful, he does so in a low voice and also extremely restrained in terms of content. "The chances are the same as for everyone else," says werner schuster’s successor at the rustic team hotel in lans near innsbruck. In view of second place in the overall standings and a gap of only about 3.5 meters to the leader ryoyu kobayashi, this is already very defensive.
The fact that one year after the strong performances of markus eisenbichler, who only had to admit defeat to high-flyer kobayashi from japan, a german once again has realistic chances of winning the golden eagle for the overall winner, is also horngacher’s work. The austrian has rebuilt a lot after the end of the eleven-year ara under werner schuster in the summer.
Horngacher brought his own assistants, takes more influence on the training of his athletes and leaves less to the home coaches. In addition, he has intensified the strength training. With geiger, to whom he has a super wire, the 50-year-old worked specifically on the approach squat.
The new input was a chance to develop further, says the 26-year-old violinist, who, like horngacher, refrains from making crude fighting statements. "This has freshened up the team."Eisenbichler also praises the new boss – even though the triple world champion from seefeld is not doing as well this winter as he did last year with schuster. He feels "in good hands" with horngacher and his calm demeanor, says the 28-year-old. "I find the way a little more pleasant."Horngacher describes himself as follows: "i’m a strict trainer, but i’m also open to new ideas."
Horngacher did not want to be put under pressure by the difficult legacy of schuster, who won almost everything there is to win in his sport during his time in office with the eagles of the german ski association (DSV) – not even when his team jumped behind the competition from austria, norway and poland at the beginning of the world cup season. He’s thinking long-term, already looking ahead to next year’s nordic world ski championships in oberstdorf and the 2022 winter olympics in beijing.
"Right from the start i tried to do what i thought was right," says horngacher. The tyrolean is self-confident and shows what he can do. The feeling of leading a jumper to a tour victory is something he knows from his time as polish national coach and coach of kamil stoch, who won in 2016/17 and 2017/18. The hustle and bustle of the spectacle in oberstdorf, garmisch-partenkirchen, innsbruck and bischofshofen does not throw horngacher off his stride. He is used to spectator crowds and media hype from ski jumping-mad poland.
For the first major highlight of the season, horngacher got his team in shape. And if geiger on 6. If he actually won the golden eagle in bischofshofen on january, he would have achieved something that even schuster couldn’t – the DSV has been waiting for a tour victory since sven hannawald’s triumph 18 years ago.