Great Britain had set the benchmark in the first heat of the qualifying rounds for the 4x100m men’s relay with a time of 37.84.
The second heat looked to be close with France, Poland, Ukraine and Germany all going strong.
But disaster struck for the home quartet heading down the home stretch.
After Kevin Kranz and Patrick Domogala had put them in with a strong chance of qualifying, both Julian Reus and Lucas Jakobczyk tangled up on the final changeover leaving them both in a heap on the floor.
Upon replay, it looked as though Reus looked to his right after giving Jakobczyk the baton, taking his eye off his team-mate, and then kicking the final runner’s left leg.
Jakobczyk took a nasty fall to the floor with Reus unable to avoid tripping over his team-mate.
The crowd inside the Berlin Olympiastadion could be heard letting out a collective gasp as both runners hit the deck.
They both required medical treatment on the track and Jakobczyk could be seen with a huge graze on his left shoulder.
The 4x100m relays get underway at 8.20pm (BST) with the women taking place first.
Great Britain’s women team qualified fastest from the heats with a time of 21.19 – a European lead.
And Britain’s men followed suit, comfortably setting the fastest time with 37.84.
The British men are the only 4x100m relay team to have run sub-38 seconds in 2018 out of the finallists for the European Championships.