One month to go - European Athletics Team Championships

Germans wins in Lille
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Germany were crowned overall champions at the 2017 European Athletics Team Championships in Lille Metropole ahead of Poland and France

Fifteen years after hosting the European Cup, Bydgoszcz will stage the European Athletics Team Championships which begins one month today on Friday 9 August.

There will be very high hopes that Poland will produce their first overall victory having topped the medal table at both the 2017 and 2019 European Indoor Championships, the 2016 European Championships as well as being the top performing European nation at the IAAF World Championships in 2017.

In the seven years the European Athletics Team Championships has taken place since 2009, the Poles have been a model of consistency, finishing no lower than sixth and they produced their best ever showing as a collective in Lille Metropole in 2017, finishing second behind the Germans who won their third team title.

The Poles took five victories in Lille Metropole behind the Germans who accrued seven victories across the three days to win by a comfortable 26.5 points with France third on home soil, one place ahead of Great Britain in fourth.

And there will be just as much intrigue towards the bottom of the standings as there will be at the top this year as the European Athletics Council took the decision last November to streamline the top tier of the competition from twelve to eight countries from 2021 onwards.

This means that five countries will be relegated from the top flight in order to accommodate the changes to the format and only one country will be promoted from the European Athletics Team Championships First League in Sandnes, Norway.

The hosts of the First League will be strong contenders to push back into the top flight with the likes of European and world champion Karsten Warholm and the Ingebrigtsen brothers - who were born and still live in Sandnes - expected to play a consequential role across the three days.

Other strong promotion contenders from the First League include Turkey who missed out on promotion by 3.5 points in 2017 despite a championship record of 20.20 from world and European champion Ramil Guliyev in the 200m.

Belarus and the Netherlands, whose teams are likely to be replete with familiar names, will also be bidding for immediate promotion back into the top-tier in 2021.

Sweden and Finland topped the First League standings in Vaasa two years ago with Switzerland gaining the third qualifying position into the top tier of the competition for the very first time.