England face the biggest challenge in European table tennis when Germany arrive in Preston for the Leopards’ latest European Championships qualifying tie on Tuesday.

The women’s line up of Kelly Sibley, Tin-Tin Ho and Karina Le Fevre have been buoyed by their 3-2 victory over Slovenia in their first home match, but Germany present an altogether bigger challenge.

The current European champions – indeed, they have won the last three team championships – they also became the first European nation to feature in an Olympic Games team gold medal match, when they were beaten by China at Rio 2016.

And although two of that squad, Han Ying and Petrissa Solja, are not on duty at the Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre, they still have a strong side bolstered this week by the late call-up of the third Olympic player, Shan Xiaona.

The world No 22 replaces No 140 Chantal Mantz and will feature alongside Nina Mittelham (ranked #111) and Wan Yuan (#175). By contrast, Sibley, Ho and Le Fevre are respectively ranked 168, 193 and 386.

Nevertheless, England had chances in the reverse fixture, with Sibley holding match points against Mittelham, and will believe they have a chance of an upset, with a home crowd behind them.

Tickets are still available for the match, which begins at 6pm on Tuesday December 13. Click here to look for tickets.