The German silver quartet celebrated the next German cross-country coup arm in arm and with loud singing.
"Oh, how beautiful it is," rang out the finish area in snow-covered Planica. First runner Laura Gimmler had tears in her eyes. "It's hard to believe. I have to let that sink in first," said the 29-year-old euphorically and team manager Peter Schlickenrieder cheered: "Silver shines like gold!"
With second place in a great race, the women's relay brought the German cross-country skiing team their first World Cup medal in twelve years and, one year after silver at the Olympics, impressively underpinned the upward trend of the cross-country aces.
"A very important milestone"
"It's always the hardest part to confirm such a performance," said Hennig on ARD. "I'm very, very proud of our team." The 26-year-old, Gimmler, Pia Fink and Victoria Carl were only beaten by the victorious quartet from Norway on Thursday in Slovenia.
"It's a very important milestone that we've achieved here - repeating such a success," said Schlickenrieder with a view to the 2022 Winter Games. At that time, Hennig and Carl with gold in the team sprint made for a German cross-country fairy tale in addition to relay silver . "I'm really happy. You can tell that the team is growing together more and more," said motivator Schlickenrieder.
Ski jumper and three-time world champion Katharina Althaus also cheered the next highlight of the German quartet, who ran with black, red and gold lucky charms in their hair. After their furious World Cup, Althaus treated himself to a sandwich in the stands and shared the fever.
Team right from the start - trend confirmed
Unlike ski jumpers or Nordic combined, winter sports fans were not used to German successes in cross-country skiing for a long time. But the team has been on the upswing since last season - and not just at major events. In the World Cup, there have also been more podium finishes recently. Now the long World Championship series ended without a podium.
Gimmler established himself in a leading group of four nations. Schlickenrieder, who, as usual, cheered his athletes on with loud cheers, was extremely satisfied. "If things continue like this, we have good chances," he said on ARD, while Hennig also showed a very good performance in second place. The 26-year-old benefited from a fall by Swede Ebba Andersson and even brought Germany forward for a short time. Fink also ran a strong race, but had to let Norwegian Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg go. Final runner Carl secured silver from Sweden.
Jens Filbrich, Axel Teichmann, Franz Göring and Tobias Angerer won the last German World Cup medal in cross-country skiing in 2011 in Oslo. They won bronze in the 4x10km relay. The German Ski Association has been waiting for individual medals at a world championship for 14 years. The end of this dry spell is still possible in Planica: On Saturday, Hennig has outsider chances in the race over 30 kilometers in the classic technique that she prefers.