It’s been 2 weeks since the last Ski jumping event, which took place in Engelberg on 15th and 16th December. Now men ski jumpers are travelling to Germany where they will compete in Oberstdorf and later in Innsbruck and Bischofshofen in this year’s Four Hills Tournament.
The Four Hills Tournament is the German-Austrian Ski Jumping Week, which takes place from 29/30th December – 6th of January in Germany and Austria. It’s a Ski jumping event that is composed of 4 World Cup events, which saw it’s beginnings in 1953 and it takes place at Oberstdorf, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Innsbruck and Bischofshofen. Winning all the 4 events is also called the “Grand Slam”. The first time we saw an athlete achieving the “Grand Slam” was in 2001-02, when Sven Hannawald won all four events. Last season (2017-18), it was Kamil Stoch who became the 2nd man to do the same. Despite the fact that the tournament counts separately from World Cup, the points still count towards the overall title in the World Cup.
One of the tournaments peculiarities is its qualifying system. Unlike any other ski jumping event, where the top 30 competitors from the 1st round qualify for the 2nd round, there is a knock-out system for Four Hills Tournament. The 50 competitors are split into 25 pairs which then compete against each other. The 25 winners + 5 of the best performing “losers” then qualify for the 2nd round (30 competitors). I will not go into much detail about how the Tournament works but let’s rather look at how the season went thus far and who are favourites, as well as what are our predictions.
As of now, Ryoyu Kobayashi is leading the overall standings with 556 points. At the 2nd place with 445 points it’s Piotr Zyla who is 80 points ahead of his teammate, 3rd placed Kamil Stoch. In the Nations Cup, Poland (1457) is leading ahead of Germany (1320), with Japan at 3rd place (946). Ryoyu Kobayashi has really been a huge surprise this season, with 4 wins in 7 events. Stock, on the other hand, has not been himself in the opening 7 races, with 0 wins and 3 podium finishes. In the most recent event in Engelberg, we saw Ryoyu Kobayashi once again winning, with Piotr Zyla at 2nd place and Kamil Stoch at 3rd. This was Piotr Zyla 5th podium finish this season and his 4th podium in a row (one 3rd place and three 2nd places).
The next event will take place at Oberstdorf, more specifically at Schattenbergschanze hill (H137). Last season, it was Kamil Stoch who won here, with Richard Freitag 2nd and Dawid Kubacki at the 3rd place. In Fact, as mentioned before, Stoch won all Four Hill Tournament events, which happened 2nd in the history of the tournament. Looking at 2016/17 season, Stoch finished 2nd in the 2 events in Germany and 1st in Paul-Ausserleitner-Schanze, which resulted in him winning the tournament. This means he won the tournament twice in a row and will be hoping to do so again this season.
Kamil Stoch has won 2 Tournaments and 5 events in a row, which means that if he wins in Oberstdorf he would become the first man to win 6 Four Hills events in a row. As of now, he is tied with Helmut Recknagel and Sven Hannawald with 5 Four Hills Tournament events wins in a row. This year, Stoch managed to win 8 individual World Cup events (all in the last season), which means there is only 1 other man ski jumpers who won events for Poland in a single year; Adam Malysz with 9 wins in 2007 and 17 in 2001. If Stoch managed to win 2 more events, he would climb to 5th place in all-time most individual World Cup wins. As of now, he has 31 wins. Despite somewhat poor performances this season, the Four Hills TOurnament is where Stock shines and we believe this will be his chance for redemption. The season is still young and the race for the overall title is still open, however, the Four Hills Tournament comes round only once per year and I believe Stoch won’t let the opportunity to win here once again slip away.
Currently leading the World Cup standings, Ryoyu Kobayashi can become the 2nd Japanese man to win the Four Hills Tournament after Kazuyoshi Funaki in 1997/1998, when he won the first 3 events of the tournament. Ever since only Noriaki Kasai managed to win Four Hills event for Japan (Innsbruck in 1998/1999 and Garmisch-Partenkirschen 2000/01). Up until now, Kobayashi best result in the Four Hills Tournament is a 12th place in Oberstdorf last year. If he manages to finish on the podium, he would become the first Japanese man to do so since Noriaki Kasai in 2014/15.
Peter Prevc won the Four Hills events in Garmisch-Partenkirschen, Innsbruck and Bischofshofen in 2015/16 when he won the Golden Eagle. That year he was the dominant force in ski jumping, as he achieved the highest score ever in the Overall standings (2303). If he manages to win today, he would become the 11th ski jumper to win all the Four Hills Tournament events as well as the overall title in the named tournament. Despite his dominant performance in 2015/16, he only finished on the podium once in his last 31 appearances in individual World Cup events. The last podium finish was 3rd place in Zakopane on 28th of January 2018.
Stefan Kraft won the opening event of the Four Hills Tournament (Oberstdorf) in 2016/17 and 2014/15. With that, he could join Thoma and Schitt on a record 3 wins in this venue. Kraft, despite on the verge of reaching a record 3 wins in Oberstdorf, has not won any other Four Hills tournament events. His best result on other hills is 2nd place in Innsbruck (2014/15). As for his performance this season, his best result up until now is 5th place in Nizhny Tagil on 1st of December.
|Market||Prediction||Pinnacle Odds||Bet 365 Odds||Stake||Won / Lost|
|Outright||Ryoyu Kobayashi||1.99||2.00||1 Unit||Won|
|Podium Finish – No||Kamil Stoch||/||2.00||1 Unit||Won|
|Top 6 finish||Stefan Kraft||/||2.00||1 Unit||Won|
|H2H(Kamil Stoch vs Stefan Kraft)||Stefan Kraft||2.85||3.00||1 Unit||Won|