At the decisive moment, Benedikt Doll kept his nerve. After a big gap in the meantime, the last runner of the German biathlon relay took advantage of the blunders of the competition at the shooting range and then ensured third place in Östersund with a decisive performance against the Swede Pepe Femling.
"After Johannes I thought we were gone. But I believed that we could still attack the podium," said the 32-year-old with satisfaction on ZDF.
Janina Hettich-Walz, Hanna Kebinger, Vanessa Voigt and Denise Herrmann-Wick had previously finished third, but the emotional state was different after missing out on winning the overall relay standings. "That was a bad race," said Herrmann-Wick.
Norway's men win even without Bö brothers
In the superior fifth victory in the fifth relay race of the Norwegians, who had to compete without their top players Johannes Thingnes Bö, Tarjei Bö and Sturla Holm Laegreid, Roman Rees, Kühn, Philipp Nawrath and Doll were already more than a minute behind after a penalty loop by Kühn in tenth place. But Nawrath and finally Doll, who had won an individual without a penalty for the first time in his career on Thursday, turned the race around. The spot where Doll left the Swede is actually "not where you attack, but he didn't fight back. So I was able to enjoy the last few meters a bit," said Doll. Second place went to France.
Only in the medalless World Championship relay race in Oberhof with fifth place did the protégés of national coach Mark Kirchner not make it onto the podium this season, always in the five World Cup competitions. That was enough for second place in the overall standings.
Herrmann-Wick slips up at the shooting range
Three weeks after Oberhof's emotional World Championship silver medal, the women wanted to win their first relay in over two years and thus the overall relay ranking. In the end, neither of them came to anything. Because of all final skiers Herrmann-Wick could not cope with a total of five spares at the shooting range. Because Norway prevailed over France and the Swedes finished fifth, Herrmann-Wick slipped
"That went through our heads the whole time, a win was our goal today, that was possible. But I couldn't get it across the finish line," said the sprint world champion, who was not quite happy about the fourth podium place in the fifth race of the season could look forward to. In the end, Germany was one point behind the third-placed Swedes.
"It wasn't a perfect day overall. Of course we're a bit upset, but we have goals for next year," said women's coach Kristian Mehringer. Sports Director Felix Bitterling said: "The bitter third place there is, but that's sport."
The final mass starts are on the program on Sunday. Herrmann-Wick, Voigt and Kebinger start at 1 p.m. The men, including Doll, Rees, Nawrath, Kühn, Justus Strelow and David Zobel, will start at 4 p.m. (ZDF and Eurosport). Overall World Cup winner Johannes Thingnes Bö and his brother Tarjei, who are only due to return to the season finale in Oslo next Thursday after their corona infection, will not be there.