Although I retired in Nove Mesto at the end of the lockdown 2020/2021 season with no spectators in the stands, my memories of the venue will forever be the complete opposite: one of the packed stands with cheering fans. At the shooting range, it feels like a cauldron. I remember the World Championships 2013 and the atmosphere during and after the Mixed relays when the Czech team won the Bronze medal. It felt like the whole stadium was bouncing as the noise created by the Czech fans was deafening!
At first glance, Nove Mesto doesn't seem challenging, and tracks can look relatively easy. In reality, one needs to push most of the time on the skis and still be careful and not over-ambitious in the first half of the lap to save energy for the second half. The tracks seem made for Johannes Thingnes Boe and his superb skiing skills! Julia Simon will also like her chances in Nove Mesto as she has excellent cornering technique.
Johannes's show of dominance in Oberhof 2023 was incredible, and I can't even imagine how that was doable. To maintain top-level skiing and shooting, mental strength, and get the recovery right for so many days in a row is crazy. Can Johannes - or anyone else - win all seven available medals in Nove Mesto? Based on the dynamics in the first two Trimesters of the season, I am doubtful.
To Germany now: the team has shown great skiing so far this season. In the non-sprint races, however, they gave better results at the shooting range. If you are strong at the stand, anything is possible. I definitely expect a better outcome than we managed in 2013 with two medals!
And my tip for the home team: Enjoy the occasion and don't put any pressure on yourself. It's a privilege to run at a home World Championships!