"The Hungarian athlete is the third, and the German is the fifth."
Translation:A magyar sportoló a harmadik, a német pedig az ötödik.
Why can't I say the following? A magyar sportoló a harmadik és a német az ötödik.
I think in Hungarian the two sentences have slight differences between them. "A magyar sportoló a harmadik és a német az ötödik" for me suggests that the emphasis is on the place. As if I have asked which athlete received the third and which one the fifth place. In the case of "A magyar sportoló a harmadik, a német pedig az ötödik" the emphasis is on the athletes. In this case the question is which place did the hungarian and the german athletes earn. Your sentence does sound correct to me though in this case.
You can, but Hungarian has a better construction for this situation, which is missing from English. And that is the "pedig" version. So I guess they are trying to encourage you to learn to use that construct.
But both are correct, of course.