The 26-year-old, who topped the podium at the 2016 World Championships in Igls, Austria, holds a 0.35-second advantage following the opening two heats in Canada.
Germany's Hermann, who took silver in Koenigssee in 2017 but has twice won team gold, clocked in with an overall time of 1:46.65 to top the leaderboard.
She will however face tough competition from countrywoman Jacqueline Loelling, the defending champion, who lies second in 1:47.00.
Bobsleigh
Unerring Friedrich clinches 11th world title
14/02/2021 AT 18:08

Hermann leads Germany to relay triumph

And an all-German top three was completed by Sophia Griebel (1:47.47), teeing things up nicely for Friday's third and fourth runs.
Sportsbeat 2019
Bobsleigh
Friedrich on top at halfway mark of four-man World Championships
13/02/2021 AT 21:58
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Friedrich makes it six in a row in Altenberg
07/02/2021 AT 18:19