With 16 crews qualified for Sunday's Rowing World Cup finals at the Olympic Regatta Course in Munich, the host nation is demonstrating extraordinary power in the post-Olympic year.
Many of the German crews are new, but of course some older and experienced rowers like Kathrin Boron and Kathrin Rutschow in the women's double sculls, Stephen Volkert and Andreas Hajek in the men's double, Andre Willms in the single sculls, and finally Kerstin Koeppen and Jana Thieme in the quadruple sculls with Meike Ewers and Manuela Luetze are contributing to the impressive German record. All of them are Olympic or World Championships medallists. The Germans will have two crews in the finals of the women's quad, the coxless pair the lightweight double, and the men's double, the coxless four and the coxless pair.
Denmark, France and Great Britain each finished with four boats qualified for the finals, and behind them are Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland and Russia, each with three boats qualified.
Among the highlights of today's races was a surprising win by Ibrahim Ali (EGY) in the men's single sculls. He beat the favourite Andre Willms (GER), Olympic gold medallist in the quadruple sculls in Atlanta, and Fredrik Bekken (NOR), sixth in Atlanta. Ali has been around for some time and finished eighth in Atlanta but it seems that this may be his big breakthrough year. He will meet Iztok Cop (SLO), fourth in Atlanta, the winner of the second semi-final; a new Latvian rower Andris Reinholds, and the USA's Jamie Koven, unknown as a sculler but a member of the USA world champion eight.
In the men's lightweight double sculls, the Olympic champions, the brothers Gier (SUI), had to fight hard for their second place in the semi-final. Ingo Euler and Bernhard Roehling (GER) pulled away to win leaving the Swiss duo in a dog fight with two British crews, both with unknown rowers. The Great Britain 2 crew of Matthew Beachey and Tim Bedingfield finished third, just three tenths of a second behind the Swiss. In the second semi-final the Spanish crew, fourth in Atlanta, surprisingly did not qualify for the final. They were beated by France, Austria and Sweden - all three new crews this season.
In the men's coxless four, the new Great Britain boat with the big Olympic stars Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent from the coxless pair with James Cracknell and Tim Foster, produced another impressive performance to win their final place, beating two new German crews by over a length. Their toughest opponents look to be the Germany 1, with Stefan Heinze, Stefan Forster, Uwe Steenblock and Kai Horl, and Croatia 1, winners of the other semi-final.
In the women's single sculls, the first, third and fourth placers from Atlanta met each other in the first semi-final. Maria Brandin (SWE), fourth in Atlanta, won the race ahead of Olympic bronze medallist Trine Hansen (DEN) and the Olympic champion Katya Khodotovich (BLR). They were not pressed in this tactical race and Sunday's final is hard to predict. In the other semi-final, Roumiana Neikova (BUL) won ahead of Guin Batten (GBR) and Daniela Molle (GER) in another tactical race. Batten, fifth in Atlanta, has beaten Hansen this season and seems to be a serious top four contender.