Laura Muir might be the face of the Glasgow 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships from 1-3 March but Konstanze Klosterhalfen will provide more than a modicum of opposition to the reigning 1500m and 3000m champion next month.
Klosterhalfen won silver behind Muir over 1500m in Belgrade two years ago but it could be over 3000m where the pair will clash in Glasgow on the first night of the championships. Just a few hours after Muir powered to a world-leading time and national record of 4:18.75 in the mile in Birmingham, Klosterhalfen achieved the same pair of accolades with victory in the 3000m at the German Indoor Championships in Leipzig in 8:32.47.
Klosterhalfen shaved nearly four seconds off her previous record of 8:36.01. She achieved that mark at last year’s championships with a gun-to-tape display but on Saturday, Klosterhalfen was content to track Alina Reh - who Klosterhalfen described as “the perfect pacemaker” - through two kilometres in 5:50.19 before easing away from her long-time domestic rival, covering the last 600 metres in 1:32.68.
Reh was also rewarded with a lifetime best of 8:43.72 and is third on the 2019 European list behind Klosterhalfen’s 8:32.47 and Melissa Courtney’s 8:43.36.
Christina Schwanitz has missed the last two editions of the European Indoor Championships but the German veteran looks poised for a triumphant return some six years after winning her first major title in Gothenburg - a precursor to two European outdoor titles and the 2015 world outdoor title.
Schwanitz regained her world lead last week with 19.31m in Sassnitz and she went even further in Leipzig on Saturday, reaching out to 19.54m in the penultimate round. Schwanitz has the four longest marks in Europe this season and her only defeat came at the hands of Maggie Ewen from the United States in Boston - only a day after competing domestically in Erfurt.
David Storl is also gearing himself up for a tilt at another major shot put title and he produced a marvellous series with four throws in excess of the 21m line, the best being a season’s best of 21.32m in the second round. Storl has won medals aplenty in the intervening years but not since the 2016 European Championships in Amsterdam has he reached the top of the podium in a major event.
After clocking a lifetime best of 7.34 to reach the 60m final on the Saturday, reigning European champion Malaika Mihambo won the long jump the following day with 6.72m in the fifth round.
Mihambo was seventh in the 60m final in 7.39 which was won by Lisa-Marie Kwayie in a lifetime best of 7.19. In the men’s 60m, 20-year-old Kevin Kranz continued to impress with a lifetime best of 6.56 in the heats before winning the final in 6.59.
With the likes of Reece Prescod and Filippo Tortu opting to miss Glasgow, Kranz could become the first German winner of the 60m title at the European Indoor Championships since Marc Blume in 1996.
Elsewhere, Imke Onnen cleared a lifetime best of 1.96m to win the women's high jump ahead of Marie-Laurence Jungfleisch while European champion Mateusz Przybylko cleared 2.26m to defeat Falk Wendrich on countback.
Lisek clears 5.83m at the Polish Indoor Championships
Poland topped the medal table at the last edition of the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade two years ago but one man who did not make the podium - or even the final - was Michal Haratyk.
Haratyk bowed out in qualifying but in Berlin last summer, Haratyk won shot put gold at the European Championships. In Torun on Sunday, he took his season's best to 20.92m in the fifth round to beat reigning European indoor champion Konrad Bukowiecki in the process. He was second with 20.78m and Jakub Szyszkowski was third with 20.23m.
Defending European indoor pole vault champion Piotr Lisek treated the crowd to a brilliant display as he counts down the days to Glasgow and a possible defence of his title. Lisek cleared 5.83m before three attempts at a prospective world-leading height of 5.91m.
Former world champion Pawel Wojciechowski was second with 5.60m with 2016 European champion Robert Sobera third with 5.50m.
Among the seven Polish golds from Belgrade, one came from high jumper Sylwester Bednarek but he was beaten for the domestic title by Norbert Kobielski, 2.22m to 2.19m.
The Poles are looking secure for individual and relay success in Glasgow after Iga Baumgart-Witan won a competitive 400m final in 52.05 ahead of double European champion Justyna Swiety-Ersetic in 52.16 and Anna Kielbasinska in 52.32. Karol Zalewski won the men’s 400m final in 46.84.
Elsewhere, Klaudia Siciarz reduced her lifetime best to 7.95 to win the 60m hurdles title and Marcin Lewandowski stepped up in distance to win the 3000m title in 8:16.00.