The Germans will be seeking their second-straight SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals title after winning the 2016 event in Toronto. Ludwig and Walkenhorst earned a “wild card” for Hamburg as the pair competed in only four FIVB World Tour events together this season highlighted by a gold medal finish at the FIVB World Championships earlier this month in Vienna. With Ludwig having off-season right shoulder surgery and Walkenhorst slowed with various ailments, the Germans started the 2017 campaign with a fifth and two ninths. The Vienna win completed the “triple crown” of Beach Volleyball for Ludwig and Walkenhorst as the Germans also captured the gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The Germans’ 2016 season was the best-ever performance by an European pair on the FIVB World Tour as Ludwig and Walkenhorst won 69 of 79 contests highlighted by winning streaks of 18-, 13-, 11- and 10-straight match victories. A three-time Olympian, Ludwig started playing on the world tour in 2006 and has participated in 136 events with 10 gold medals, 30 podium placements and 36 “final four” finishes. Walkenhorst began her world tour career in 2012 with 10 gold medals, 17 medals and 20 “final fours”.