Germany's eventers lead the race for European team gold ahead of GB at the end of the dressage phase on Friday.
Four German riders top the individual standings in Luhmuehlen with British 21-year-old Laura Collett tied for fourth place aboard Rayef.
The hosts lead having recorded a team score of 98.70, with Britain second (121.90) and Italy third (128.30).
Five Britons remain in action heading into Saturday's cross-country, though Polly Stockton has withdrawn.
Stockton's horse, Regulus, has suffered a minor injury. Her withdrawal does not affect the British team as she, alongside Collett, was competing as an individual at Luhmuehlen.
Of the four nominated GB team members, Mary King is highest-placed with Imperial Cavalier in 10th having scored 38.80.
Germany's Ingrid Klimke leads on FRH Butts Abraxxas having posted a score of just 30.00, while Collett scored 35.40.
"He was such a good boy, I'm so chuffed with him," said Collett of Rayef.
"As soon as we went in he knuckled down and is becoming a real performer as he gets used to these bigger occasions.
"Apart from one mistake in his final change he was faultless; this test is definitely up there with his best."
Piggy French and Jakata are just behind GB team-mate King with 40.40, with William Fox-Pitt and Cool Mountain 17th (42.70).
Nicola Wilson, with Opposition Buzz, is down in 39th after racking up a score of 52.70.
Britain are the defending team champions having won the last eight European titles and added world team gold to their trophy cabinet since, but Germany won the Olympic title in 2008.
Twenty-two of the 30 European team championships staged to date have been won by Britain.
British rider Tina Cook is the defending individual champion but is not competing at this year's event.
Saturday's cross-country phase begins at 0930 BST before the competition concludes with showjumping on Sunday, both of which can be seen live on the BBC Sport website and red button.