With his first win in the World Cup in almost two years, Thomas Morgenstern is now definitely back among the world's elite. With jumps on 143.5 m and 139 m and 284.1 points the Austrian won in Titisee-Neustadt ahead of World Champion Kamil Stoch (POL) and four-time Olympic Champion Simon Ammann (SUI).
While Morgenstern was leading after the first round, Stoch, who jumped on 137 m in the first round, moved up from eighth to second. With 141.5 m he came in 3.3 points behind the winner. Ammann showed jumps on 144 m, the longest jump of the day, and 138 m and with 277.6 points he earned, like Stoch, his first podium finish this season.
Morgenstern was more than happy after the competition: "This is a wonderful day for me and I will enjoy it. Tomorrow is another day and a new competition and I'll do my best again. I don't think about the highlights later this winter yet. I'm not sure how many competitions I already had in Titisee-Neustadt, but I don't remember a competition like this one. You can tell that the hill is a bit older and I like that a lot. I really enjoy being here."
Stoch was also satisfied: "All my jumps here were really good, the shortest of the six jumps so far was 136 m. The last jump on 141.5 m showed that I'm in a really good shape. I think our team is one of the best at the moment and has a chance on a medal in Sochi. It's still a lot of time until the Olympics and we are now more focused on the competitions before that."
Ammann was not entirely happy: "I was hoping that Kamil would jump very far in the final round and the jury would then reduce the inrun before my jump. Unfortunately this didn't happen and so I had to land my jump early. About Sochi: You can't just focus on Sochi this winter. There are many competitors and at the end there will be one or two winners, this cannot be planned."
Record World Cup winner Gregor Schlierenzauer came in fourth. He was 13th after the first round with 135.5 m, in the final his teammate Morgenstern prevented a podium result for the 4-Hills-Tournament winner. "Schlieri" missed the podium by 5.8 points.
Severin Freund was the best German, he was only 0.9 points behind Schlierenzauer and is consistent. This also applies for veteran Noriaki Kasai. With 269.5 points and the sixth place, the 41-year-old was in the Top 10 for the fourth time in a row. He was also the best Japanese in this competition, Daiki Ito was eighth and Taku Takeuchi 11th.
Jurij Tepes raised hopes for a top result of the Slovenian team as second after the first round, but with only 127.5 m in the final he finished 14th. Robert Kranjec was the best Slovene in seventh. Richard Freitag in ninth and World Champion Anders Bardal completed the Top 10.
The Germans alos had a good team performance despite the fact none made the podium. Marinus Kraus and Michael Neumayer came in 15th and 16th, Andreas Wank and Karl Geiger were 23rd and 29th.
Poland is also looking strong. Besides Stoch, also Piotr Zyla and Maciej Kot achieved good results as 12th and 13th. Dawid Kubacki (17th) and Klemens Muranka (24th) could score points as well. Austria was represented by four athletes in the final round, but Wolfgang Loitzl (18th) and Stefan Kraft (25th) could not fight for the top spots. It doesn't look that good for the Norwegians. Besides Bardal, only Rune Velta qualified for the final, he was 28th. Anders Fannemel failed to make the cut for the second round as 31st only by 0.1 points.
The World Cup in Titisee-Neustadt will continue on Sunday with the second individual competition at 2:00 pm CET.