The German national team clearly missed out on winning again at the CHIO competition - the national coach looked grim. After last year's victory on Thursday evening in Aachen, the team with two debutants only came in fifth.
Victory went to Switzerland ahead of Great Britain and Belgium in the almost sold-out 40,000-seat stadium. "Last year we celebrated, now it's the Swiss," commented national coach Otto Becker: "There were a few careless mistakes, in the end we were too far away. We can't be satisfied." With a view to the European Championships in Italy, he said: "We have to take our time to analyze that now."
The German team did not get off to a good start in the test. Only Dreher shot clean in the first round. The 51-year-old debutant in the CHIO team convinced with Elysium in his first round - but suffered four penalty points in the water jump in an otherwise confident second round. The gelding "jumped tremendously", commented Dreher: "Of course it was annoying with the water mistake."
Jana Wargers was the first German rider to ride in both rounds of the course. The 32-year-old conceded a knockdown at the last obstacle in the first round with Limbridge, but showed a sovereign and flawless performance in the second. "My horse was unbelievable in both rounds, unfortunately with a mistake in the first one," commented the rider from Emsdetten: "I was very annoyed." Although Limbridge lost a horseshoe in the course, the stallion "did it really well".
The team debutant Stevens also started with a down in the saddle of Starissa and received four penalty points in the second round - after he fell in the preparation and had to be treated briefly. "Of course I would have liked to have ridden double zero," said last year's German champion. In view of the accident, however, he was "quite satisfied".
Ironically, the experienced Ehning blundered at the start. The three-time World Cup winner from Borken received eight penalty points with Stargold in the first round and thus delivered the discarded result, because only the top three couples per round are counted. In the second round, the 49-year-old did better and shot clean with his stallion. "All in all, I'm still not satisfied," commented Ehning.
In the afternoon Jessica von Bredow-Werndl showed the best Grand Prix in dressage and led the German quartet to first place in the Nations Cup with a sovereign performance. The fact that one of the home team's great hopes for the future could not live up to expectations was not significant.
"In terms of feeling, that was my best Grand Prix so far," emphasized von Bredow-Werndl after her strong performance. "She was phenomenal to ride," she said of the mare with which von Bredow-Werndl had won two Olympic gold medals in Tokyo and three titles at the subsequent European Championships.
Thanks to the successful ride, the German dressage team is in first place in the Nations Cup after the Grand Prix. After the first of two special stages, the quartet led by von Bredow-Werndl ahead of team world champions Denmark and Great Britain. The decision in the team competition will be made in the Grand Prix Special on Saturday. Von Bredow-Werndl achieved the best result in the Grand Prix and was ahead of Brit Charlotte Dujardin with Imhotep (79.782) in the individual ranking with 82.304 percent.
Two established couples from the German team also contributed to first place: Isabell Werth with Quantaz and Frederic Wandres with Bluetooth. Sönke Rothenberger, on the other hand, was dissatisfied, having slipped into the CHIO team due to the injury to Ingrid Klimke's horse Franziskus. He made several mistakes with the nine-year-old Fendi. The gelding is considered a great hope for the future, but showed several weaknesses, unlike at the German Championships in Balve, where the pair surprisingly won the Grand Prix ahead of von Bredow-Werndl. "There is of course a big disappointment," commented the 28-year-old rider.