World Ski Championships in Åre: medal chances by Felix Neureuther or Josef Ferstl
Felix Neureuther, Viktoria Rebensburg, Josef Ferstl - the German Ski Association starts with great hopes at the World Championships in Sweden. The problems in the German team are manifold.
The German Skiing Association (DSV) is traveling with 16 athletes to the Alpine World Championships in Åre, Sweden. That sounds like a big squad, especially as only eight riders could qualify for the sport: Lena Dürr, Josef Ferstl, Christina Geiger, Stefan Luitz, Felix Neureuther, Viktoria Rebensburg, Kira Weidle and Michaela Wenig.
However, not for the first time, the DSV suspends the World Cup standard for eight more active players for reasons of perspective. "Our team consists of both established and young active with perspective, who should gain valuable experience in a major event in Åre," said DSV sports director Wolfgang Maier after the nomination. A specific goal does not give Maier, a World Cup without medals as last 2007 - also in Åre - but he wants to avoid.
For Meike Pfister, Marlene Schmotz, Manuel Schmid, Dominik Schwaiger, Dominik Stehle, Alexander Schmid, Linus Strasser, Anton Tremmel and also thanks to the fifth place in the downhill of Val Gardena surprisingly qualified Michaela Wenig applies in Åre: gain experience, World Cup atmosphere record and go with positive feelings in the last race of the season.
Even in the absence of cruciate ligament injured Thomas Dreßen the German team can hope for medals, at least that is especially for the experienced Neureuther and Rebensburg in their parade disciplines slalom and giant slalom, Kitzbühel winner Ferstl in the Super G, Luitz in the giant slalom and in this Season in the departure world-top arrived Weidle. However, the quintet also knows that a medal requires perfect races because everyone brings different problems and deficits to Sweden.
Read the medal forecasts for the German team here:
German medal chances in Åre
Lena Dürr : The 27-year-old has been competing in the World Cup for ten years, winning a World Cup race with the city event in Moscow in all those years and taking bronze with the team at the 2013 World Championships in Schladming. Dürr is now a pure slalom specialist and must marvel as many riders the dominance of Mikaela Shiffrin. But since the extended world class is too good for Dürr, a medal in Åre is unlikely.
Josef Ferstl : Anyone who wins the Super G in Kitzbühel and finishes seventh on the downhill is one of the favorites in the two speed races at a World Cup. This also applies to Ferstl, who is currently enjoying a similar level of attention as Thomas Dreßen a year ago after his success on the Streif. The truth is that Ferstl is only in tenth place in the Super G World Cup ranking. The way to the top of the world leads over Konstanz, which has not shown the 30-year-old in his career.
Christina Geiger : Like Dürr, Geiger drives mostly in slalom and delivered strong results this season with places five, six and seven in Zagreb, Flachau and Oslo. The way to the podium is then not far, you might think. Regardless of Shiffrin's dominance, in slalom there would have to be four or five riders who can not beat the violinist on normal days.
Stefan Luitz : German World Cup victories have become rare in the absence of injured Thomas Dreßen and because of the health problems of Felix Neureuther. All the more was the jubilation after the success of Luitz in Beaver Creek, when he won directly after a long injury break the giant slalom. But because he had taken oxygen between the two runs and thus violated rules of the Ski World Federation, Luitz was denied the victory. The 26-year-old fights in front of the Cas against this decision and in parallel with a shoulder injury. Luitz can not be optimally prepared - that's what the results in Åre will show.
Felix Neureuther : There is a high chance that Neureuther will compete in Åre for his last World Cup. Even the possible retirement in a few weeks, the 34-year-old did not exclude last. Neureuther struggles with his ailing body (cruciate ligament rupture, allergic shock, broken thumb, concussion since November 2017) and is therefore still a long way away from the world's top. There's still some time to go until the World Cup slalom (17 February), but Neureuther will not soon find his medal form again.
Viktoria Rebensburg : At the Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang the disappointment for Rebensburg was huge, two avoidable mistakes cost tangible medals. The date of her career end is not fixed yet, but Rebensburg decided before this season for continuous use. In addition to Giant Slalom, the 29-year-old also competed in Downhill and Super G - and made just before the World Cup without a win of the season, the U-turn. The departure in Garmisch-Partenkirchen canceled them to train their special discipline giant slalom. But that will not be enough for a medal, especially since Shiffrin and Tessa Worley (France) are probably only in bronze.
Dominik Schwaiger : Like most of his colleagues from the second series of the German Ski Association, the 27-year-old has already outgrown the talent age. With 12th place in the Super G in Kitzbühel Schwaiger managed half the World Cup standard, his nomination had been expected. "The nomination is a huge motivation for me," said the speed driver, who will go into downhill and super G at the start. But for Schwaiger applies as for Pfister, Schmotz, Little, Stehle, Strasser, Schmid, Schmid and Tremmel: A medal in a single race would be a huge sensation.
Kira Weidle : This season there was no dominant downhill rider in the World Cup, as the previous six races with four different winners illustrate. Weidle was also able to use that for herself, the 22-year-old was third in Lake Louise and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. For Weidle it is the second World Cup participation, after the "introductory course" in St. Moritz two years ago, she now wants to "in Åre like to achieve the stage". What exactly that means, leaves Weidle open, but she still lacks the experience to drive at a world championship to the very front.