“Black Sunday” is finally ticked off for Peter Schlickenrieder. A few weeks after he had severely criticized himself after making a line-up mistake, the 53-year-old cross-country team boss was at peace with himself again.

“Today is Funny Thursday, Happy Thursday. Today is Happy Thursday,” said Schlickenrieder after relay silver in Planica, Slovenia. Only the Norwegians were even stronger this time, with top favorites Sweden, Finland and the USA lagging behind the strong German quartet.

Schlickenrieder: “It’s a very special day”

“Everyone has surpassed themselves,” said Schlickenrieder about Laura Gimmler, Katharina Hennig, Pia Fink and Victoria Carl, who ended a German World Cup medal lull of 4371 days. Since the title fights in 2011 there had only been brass, that has now changed. “I am very happy and proud of what we have achieved. It is a very special day,” said Hennig, who was part of the silver relay at the Olympics last year and even won gold in the team sprint together with Carl. On Saturday, Hennig can even add a medal over 30 kilometers in the classic technique.

Cross-country skiing in Germany is clearly on the upswing, at least for women. The men are considered clear outsiders in their relay on Friday (12.30 p.m. / Eurosport). Although Friedrich Moch is on the way to the top of the world, that’s not enough for Schlickenrieder. “That wouldn’t be enough for me if it’s just Friedrich Moch who wins the medals. It would be important to me that we have eight athletes, each of whom could run in the relay. That would be more important to me than a single athlete for a medal to develop. Germany is a country for cross-country skiing,” said the team boss.