Russians in control as Savchenko exits
Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy were unable to defend their European Figure Skating pairs title as Russian couples dominated the short programme.
Savchenko aggravated a left thigh injury in morning practice, forcing the Germans out of the event in the Sheffield
The three-time world champions were odds-on favourites to capture a fifth European title in six years.
In their absence, world silver medallists Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov took the lead, scoring 72.80 to Carmina Burana by Carl Orff.
Trankov has won three previous medals at the Euros with former partner Maria Mukhortova.
Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov, who took European bronze in Bern last year, are second after scoring 66.89 with world junior runners-up Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov a further 8.23 points back.
Britain's Stacey Kemp and David King were back in ninth going into Thursday's free skate with a score of 45.78.
Kemp and King, competing at their seventh successive Europeans, finished eighth last year.
They were joined on the ice by compatriots Sally Hoolin and James Hunt with the British pair scraping into the free skate as the 16th and final qualifiers after recording a score of 33.41.
1 Tatiana VOLOSOZHAR / Maxim TRANKOV RUS 72.80
2 Vera BAZAROVA / Yuri LARIONOV RUS 66.89
3 Ksenia STOLBOVA / Fedor KLIMOV RUS 58.66
4 Stefania BERTON / Ondrej HOTAREK ITA 54.38
5 Maylin HAUSCH / Daniel WENDE GER 54.03
6 Daria POPOVA / Bruno MASSOT FRA 53.91
7 Mari VARTMANN / Aaron VAN CLEAVE GER 52.00
8 Vanessa JAMES / Morgan CIPRES FRA 51.81
9 Stacey KEMP / David KING GBR 45.75
10 Alexandra HERBRIKOVA / Rudy HALMAERT CZE 42.99
11 Carolina GILLESPIE / Luca DEMATTE ITA 42.75
12 Danielle MONTALBANO / Evgeni KRASNOPOLSKI ISR 41.69
13 Anais MORAND / Timothy LEEMANN SUI 41.48
14 Lubov BAKIROVA / Mikalai KAMIANCHUK BLR 39.06
15 Stina MARTINI / Severin KIEFER AUT 38.05
16 Sally HOOLIN / James HUNT GBR 33.41
17 Elizabeta MAKAROVA / Leri KENCHADZE BUL 32.80
18 Maria PALIAKOVA / Mikhail FOMICHEV BLR 28.33