The unbeatable are still beatable. After six gold medals at major international events, the German winning streak in dressage has come to an end with a newly formed team.
With four new couples, the team had to settle for bronze at the World Championships in Herning behind hosts Denmark and Great Britain.
"We still achieved our goals," said Dennis Peiler, sports director of the German Riding Association FN: "We wanted to qualify for the Olympics, we did it. And we wanted a medal, we did it. In that respect we can be satisfied. "
For a long time, German victories seemed a matter of course in dressage, but they are no longer so. "You have to leave the church in the village," said record rider Isabell Werth. The quartet around the seven-time Olympic champion was not considered a favorite even beforehand. However, second place was the minimum goal.
National coach Theodorescu: "We are in transition"
"We had higher hopes," admitted team boss Klaus Roeser: "Basically, we're satisfied. More was not possible here today." National coach Monica Theodorescu was not disappointed either. "All the couples have delivered," she said. "We're in transition and don't have couples for more than 80 percent, so more would have been utopian."
Cathrine Laudrup-Dufour with Vamos Amigos was too strong as the last Danish starter in the Grand Prix. The German final rider Frederic Wandres from Hagen near Osnabrück with Duke of Britain could not top their result in his first World Championship ride and could not push the Brits from second place anymore. "Of course it's also good for the sport when it's exciting," said Werth.
Germany started in Herning with a new team. None of the couples who won gold at the Olympic Games and the European Championships last year competed in Denmark. Above all, the recently unbeatable double Olympic champion Jessica von Bredow-Werndl with Dalera was missed.
Newly formed German team
At the start on Saturday, Ingrid Klimke from Münster with Franziskus and Benjamin Werndl from Tuntenhausen with Famoso laid the foundation for the medal. Both achieved their best result so far in a Grand Prix
Klimke shows a good performance
The second German starter was Benjamin Werndl from Tuntenhausen with Famoso, who is also contesting his first World Championships. The brother of Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, who did not compete in the World Championships because of her pregnancy, showed an almost flawless ride at his premiere.
Werndl commented on the atmosphere in the converted football arena with around 11,000 seats and the reaction of his horse: "It crackled, and then he switched to trust. It's a special quality of him that he still listens."
The two-time eventing Olympic champion Klimke also rode for the first time in a dressage team at a championship and showed a good performance as the first team member in the saddle of Franziskus. "I'm totally happy," commented the 54-year-old from Münster on her premiere. After the team decision on Sunday, the World Championships continue on Monday with the Grand Prix Special, the first of two individual decisions. Here, too, the Germans are not the favorites for the title.