Pushed off the podium by his teammate at the start, Roman Rees now rewards himself in the sprint: The biathlete is the next German to make it into the top three at the World Cup opener. Thanks to the team behind the team.
When Erik Lesser began to sing his praises, Roman Rees nodded eagerly and grinned broadly. After his furious 10K sprint to the podium, the former team-mate in the Kontiolahti cold was by no means the only one who wholeheartedly begrudge Rees third place. "Right, really strong," said ARD expert Lesser. Rees stood by and savored the moment.
Two flawless shooting bouts and the tenth best time gave him the well-deserved reward for his strong start to the World Cup winter: Rees climbed the podium in a World Cup individual race for the second time. On Tuesday, the 29-year-old was pushed off the podium by another DSV ski hunter: David Zobel, who despite a shooting error also shone in ninth place in the sprint, was happy too. "Now he absolutely deserves it," he said: "Such a great final lap, outstanding."
As in the individual and in the relay (second place), the Germans also impressed as a collective. "The boys continued what they delivered in the first races," said national coach Mark Kirchner. Former world champion Benedikt Doll missed twice again, but was the seventh best in the cross-country ski run and came eleventh. "It's not biathlon at its best, but it fits quite well," he said.
After his two mistakes and twelfth place, Johannes Kühn spoke of a "decent" result, Justus Strelow (17th) and Philipp Nawrath (29th) completed the strong DSV performance - and provided a promising basis for the pursuer on Sunday. Surprise man Rees will then be the first German to hunt for sprint winner and top favorite Johannes Thingnes Bö. "The base will be shooting again," he said. "I feel relaxed and I'm optimistic."
The DSV women, who hope for a "German train" on Sunday (2:15 p.m. / ARD and Eurosport), felt a similar emotional state, as Sophia Schneider exulted. The 25-year-old topped her best career result in eighth place and also broke the norm for the home World Cup in Ruhpolding (February 8th to 19th). "I really wasn't expecting that, it just feels really good," she said, beaming.
All the more remarkable that Schneider was "only" the third best German in the sprint. Because high-speed shooter Anna Weidel hit all targets and finished fifth in Austria's Lisa Theresa Hauser's victory - she was never that good. "I'm brutally surprised," said Weidel, who also qualified for Oberhof, in astonishment.
Denise Herrmann-Wick's shooting error again prevented her from finishing in the top three. "The strain is high. It's only about a fast zero," said the Olympic champion after sixth place and added defiantly: "The zero will come at some point."
Vanessa Voigt, fourth in the singles, was convincing again, only Juliane Frühwirt fell back in 57th with three shooting errors. The problem child in the DSV team is another: Franziska Preuss has to wait for the start of the season due to ongoing health problems "to ensure a successful World Cup season," as the association announced. This project got off to a promising start with her teammates.