The Australian Institute of Sport scholarship holder was sixth after the first run, and produced a solid second run down the 1200 metre track to move up one placing in the final standings.
British athlete Shelley Rudman won the event, mastering the track to finish 0.99 seconds clear of Germany’s Anja Huber, with US skater Noelle Pikus Pace third. It was Rudman’s second consecutive victory in Winterberg.
The second member of the Australian team, Lucy Chaffer, finished in 12th place.
Steele, a member of the 2006 Olympic Winter Team, is in a comeback year after opting out of the sport last season. She has been progressively improving with every start and will gain a great deal of confidence with her fifth placing on the testing German track.
"I was really happy with my racing today," Michelle said.
"I put together two good pushes and two solid runs on a track that in the past has not been strong for me."
The 26 year-old was only 1.34 seconds behind the run-away winner, Rudman.
Image: Michelle Steele was 5th in Winterberg. (Image courtesy Dietmar Reker)