Great Britain's reign as European team eventing champions has surprisingly come to an end as Germany wrapped up the title in Luhmuhlen.
Britain, who have won 22 of the last 30 major team titles finished third, with France in second.
GB team Yogi Breisner hailed an "awesome" performance by the hosts, who ended a 38-year wait for the title.
He said: "Their performance would have been good enough to win any major championship in the last 25 years."
The German quartet of Michael Jung, Sandra Auffarth, Ingrid Klimke and Andreas Dibowski ended Britain's hopes of landing a ninth successive team title.
They won by 26.8 penalties from France and sent out a powerful message that they will challenge for medals at next summer's London Olympics.
Britain had to settle for bronze, being undone by three French clear rounds.
The pressure was piled on last British rider William Fox-Pitt, who had to go clear with Cool Mountain for silver, but the third fence went.
World champions Britain finished 3.5 penalties behind France after they were unable to regroup after five-time Olympian Mary King was eliminated following a cross-country fall from Imperial Cavalier.
King escaped injury, with Fox-Pitt, Piggy French (Jakata) and Nicola Wilson (Opposition Buzz) then left to compile Britain's three counting scores in the showjumping finale.
Fox-Pitt finished as Britain's highest-placed individual rider in seventh, while this year's Badminton runner-up French was ninth and Wilson 16th.
Breisner added: "We had no hiccups at the World Equestrian Games last October, and the Germans had no hiccups here."