Great Britain's reign as European team eventing champions looks set to end after Germany built a lead of 42.3 penalties in Luhmuhlen.
Nicola Wilson and William Fox-Pitt both had clear cross-country rounds for Britain, but Mary King fell heavily from Imperial Cavalier at fence 15.
Piggy French accrued 6.8 time penalties on Jakata to leave second-placed Britain depending on German errors.
Fox-Pitt is sixth individually, 6.7 penalties off a podium finish.
The 42-year-old produced a stunning exhibition of riding to stay aboard Cool Mountain during a round when he lost a stirrup on his way through a deceptively tricky course.
Britain are being chased by France and Sweden, who lie 8.5 and 30.6 penalties behind respectively in the team standings.
Despite Germany stretching their lead, the situation could have been a lot worse for Britain without Fox-Pitt's ride and that of pathfinder Wilson.
North Yorkshire-based Wilson was a remarkable 14 seconds inside a testing optimum time of 10 minutes five seconds.
But King had to go to hospital for a precautionary X-ray after her fall and French slipped behind time despite a clear round from 2011 Badminton runner-up Jakata.
Wiltshire rider Laura Collett's hopes of individual success ended after a difficult cross-country round on Rayef that began to unravel with a run-out at fence 10b in the main arena and ended with elimination at fence 27.
The competition concludes with showjumping on Sunday, which can be seen live on the BBC Sport website and red button.