A month before the start of the World Championships, the German biathletes have not yet found their best form.
At the World Cup on the Pokljuka plateau in Slovenia last weekend, neither the men nor the women managed to place on the podium.
The relay races on Sunday were particularly disappointing.
Justus Strelow and Janina Hettich-Walz finished 13th in the single mixed relay. The German quartet with Roman Rees, Benedikt Doll, Sophia Schneider and Denise Herrmann-Wick also had two penalties in the mixed relay, which France won and eleven spare rounds did not progress past fifth place.
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The best individual result from a German point of view was delivered by Benedikt Doll, who took fourth place in the sprint.
This put him in a good starting position for the pursuit on Saturday.
But two mistakes in the first shooting destroyed all hopes of a top placement.
In the end, it was eleventh place for the 32-year-old.
"The two mistakes right at the beginning hurt, so the train leaves without him," commented Felix Bitterling on Doll's race.
The Sports Director Biathlon of the German Ski Association was at the same time "hugely" happy about the performance of Johannes Kühn.
The 31-year-old fought his way up from 44th to 12th in the pursuit with four clean shooting sessions.
He thus fulfilled the association's internal standard for the World Cup, which takes place from February 8th to 19th in Oberhof in Thuringia.
"My only goal was to show what I can do in the competition," said Kühn, for whom things hadn't gone optimally this season.
"I wanted to do better.
That wasn't that difficult.
Maybe I just got lucky today.”
Individual Olympic champion Denise Herrmann-Wick provided another ray of hope – at least on the cross-country ski trail.
She had already set the fastest time in the sprint on Friday, but two shooting errors were too many for a podium finish.
She was also in good running form in the pursuit, but she missed the finish twice too – seventh place.
The German women's team had shrunk over the week.
Franziska Preuss didn't even travel to Slovenia after the Christmas break - she had caught a viral infection with fever.
Since Wednesday, Vanessa Hinz has been plagued by “upper respiratory tract symptoms”, which forced her to travel home early, as team doctor Katharina Blum announced.
After the sprint, the World Cup week was over for Anna Weidel too.
She had already been ill over the holidays, and in Slovenia it became apparent that her state of health was not yet optimal.
According to Felix Bitterling, after the week at the Pokljuka, the following now applies: “Clean your mouth, analyze and regenerate a bit”.
At the home World Cup in Ruhpolding this week, they want to get involved at the front again.
"It's not that we're in terrible shape," Bitterling said.
“We make it too difficult for ourselves on the shooting range and make one or two mistakes too many at the wrong moment.”
“In a league of their own”, as Bitterling described it, the Norwegians are currently running and shooting – above all the four-time Olympic champion in Beijing, Johannes Thingnes Bö.
He won the sprint and pursuit in Slovenia, claimed his seventh win of the season and his 100th podium finish.
In the single mixed relay, Bös' compatriots Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen and Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold triumphed.