2009-2010 Nations Cup Ranking: 6th (4308 pts)
2010-2011 Nations Cup Ranking: 6th (3017 pts)
Men: 9th (1468 pts)
Women: 8th (1549 pts)
2011/2012 World Cup Team
What You May Have Missed Last Season
We’re just going to come right out and say it; the German team sucked last season – a lot. The Germans secured just one individual World Cup medal last season, and that came from Nicole Fessel, who secured a silver in the 10 k freestyle handicap start during the mini-tour in Kuusamo, Finland.
The highest ranked German male in the Crystal Globe chase? Jens Filbrich was 26th, and now that ‘Fibser’, as he is affectionately known, is 33 and now entering his 12th World Cup season, don’t expect much more. Perennial German powerhouses Tobias Angerer and Axel Teichmann had abysmal years, finishing 41st and 49th respectively.
A lot of that can be attributed to the German abandonment en masse of the Tour de Ski due to illness, as Zeller was the only one of eight women to make it, and Filbrich and Reichelt were the only two of the 12 men who started to see the finish line.
Fine, so the Germans got really sick during the Tour. But a closer look reveals that the Germans weren’t exactly lighting the trails on fire pre- or post-Tour either.
Angerer failed to crack the top 20 before the Tour de Ski, and managed one top 10 all season, not including World Championships. His only win came in the 15 classic at his own National Championships!
We can only imagine that joining Angerer in Head Coach Jochen Behle’s doghouse is the goatee’d wonder Axel Teichmann. He had his worst points total in ten seasons on the World Cup, finishing in the top five just once before the bronze medal in the relay at World Championships, and ending his season after Oslo.
So if the Germans were that bad, how did they finish sixth? It was scoring World Cup points by committee for the red, yellow, and black suits, as 13 men and seven women chipped in.
Tim Tscharnke and Tom Reichelt are the only two German men who met or exceeded expectations last season. Somewhat frustratingly, Tscharnke turned himself from a pure sprint specialist into a middling all-around skier – probably good for his long-term prospects, but doing nothing for the Germans in the sprint arena right now, where they are desperately lacking a heavyweight male presence.
What You Need To Know for This Season
German men are in a hard place – the old guard is under-performing, and the young guns are still just a touch too young.
At 34 and 32 years of age respectively, it’s not that Angerer and Teichmann are done, and there is no way they can be as bad as last season, but they are just no longer in the elite on the World Cup, and Germany is in deep trouble because of it.
There is also a split in the team, as Filbrich, Angerer and Teichmann have created their own self-directed training group. All three have signed on to ski until 2014, which if they ski like they did last season, is not necessarily good thing.
If you’re a German woman, you’re also in the hot seat. While Katrin Zeller and Nicole Fessel were both pleasant surprises, the depth dropped off precipitously in 2010-2011.
Sachenbacher-Stehle is on the downswing of her career, as is Stefanie Boehler, and neither should be expected to produce much – although after a summer of off-road rollerskiing, maybe Sachenbacher-Stehle will be a powerhouse.
But the exciting young talent is coming, but it might still be a few years away. Specifically Hanna Kolb and Lucia Anger (the 2011 Otepaa World Junior Sprint Champion) are exciting young talent, but the sprint specialists are both are just 20 years old and lacking experience – they have just 11 World Cup starts between them.
The Germans are jealous of their Scandinavian competitors and their waxing trucks, and hope to pick one up for the 2011-2012 season.
Speaking of vehicles, the Germans may have the best sponsorship deal on the circuit, as Audi has apparently delivered over 100 vehicles to the team for the season.
The Germans also should be careful – in a recent interview Jurg Capol expressed his dissatisfaction with the atmosphere during the Oberhof Tour de Ski stop, and seeing as their southern neighbors the Swiss have designs on Tour de Ski stages and finished just 200 points behind the Germans in the Nation’s Cup…
Who You Should Watch
Markus Weeger seems to be well on his way to stardom, winning the 20 k pursuit and finishing second in the 10 k freestyle at World Junior Championships in Otepaa, as well as being a crucial part of the fourth place finishing relay team.
And he must know it – he’s already put together a slick website.