Nations Cup Ranking: 6th (4308 pts)
Men: 4th (2453 pts)
Women: 8th (1855 pts)
2010/2011 A Team
What you may have missed last season:
Tim Tscharnke rising to German sprinting domination. The 21 year-old kid with no previous World Cup points cruised onto the circuit and took home over 100 World Cup points, looking incredibly comfortable doing so. The kid was a consistent sprinter, and turned more than a few heads when he tagged off to Axel Teichmann with a 20 meter lead on the Norwegians in the last leg of the Team Sprint. And if Teichmann had a little bit more hustle, the two could have taken home a gold medal.
As for the women, one pleasant surprise was biathlete Miriam Goessner, who came fifth in the prologue on the Tour de Ski, and managed to ski both biathlon and cross country races. She was part of the German silver medal relay team. However, she has one small flaw. She can only skate ski. Literally. She started zero classic races on the World Cup.
What You Should Know For This Season
After 15 straight seasons of scoring points for the Germans on the World Cup, Rene Sommerfeldt has packed it in. His female teammate Claudia Nystad has opted to end her career as well, and the loss of such legends will be felt.
Germany is a legitimate heavyweight on the World Cup season after season, and the loss of two world class skiers will hurt. Look to others to pick up the slack, and not just previous standouts Axel Teichmann and Tobias Angerer, both of whom are still stellar skiers, especially Angerer. While he seems to have slipped a little since winning back to back Crystal Globes in ’06 and ’07, the 33 year-old can still punch out top results, coming home from the Olympics with a silver medal from the Pursuit, and finishing fourth in the 50 k. You can never count out Angerer – in addition to his ability to ski strong distance either classic or skate, last year he collected a silver medal in a sprint on the World Cup as well.
While the rivalry between Axel Teichmann and Petter Northug has pretty much ended on the course due to Northug consistently knocking the stuffing out of Teichmann, the German is still stoking the fires. However, he still won’t be beating Petter Northug in a sprint finish, and he will still be rocking a killer goatee. The FasterSkier staff is also considering starting an Alex Teichmann look-alike contest – it’s just that epic.
As Teichmann is just awful on the anchor leg of the relay, there was talk of Tscharnke being his replacement in order to combat the Northug-effect, and with the retirement of the Sommerfeldt, that seems likely.
Stefanie Boehler is back for another kick at the can after a tough 2010 season, which saw her record her worst point total in five years. On the plus side, according to her FIS profile she lists her occupation as ‘Sports Soldier’, which is pretty cool.
Katrin Zeller, who is now second on the German female depth chart, is probably the quietest, most consistent skier on the World Cup. In virtually all of her World Cup starts (some 20-odd) she finished in the 15th to 30th range, which is incredible. If she can manage to ratchet up her speed a few notches, Germany will have a legitimate overall threat.
Who You Should Watch
Miriam Goessner is the best bet. The Germans desperately need another young woman to step up, and while the 20 year-old may lack experience, her success at the World Cup level cannot be discounted. The retirement of Nystad and the aging of Sachenbacher-Stehle is a sign that the guard is changing in Germany. While Goessner can only step up in skate, if she does it well enough, it won’t matter. Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and Lars Berger, anyone?
Also, Josef Wenzl is worth a look, but only at the Dusseldorf, Germany, city sprints. The guy has made a career out of racing well in one place. In four trips to the city on the Rhine, he has finished 1st, 2nd, 5th and 40th. While the 40th placing was last season, this year he kicked off his season with a 6th place in Munio, Finland sprint. So as long as he avoids the yearly shenanigans, he could do well.