World number one Gwen Jorgensen raced to an 11th straight World Triathlon Series win but was pushed all the way by Britain's Vicky Holland in Hamburg.
Holland, who claimed her first series win in Cape Town in April, finished just five seconds behind Jorgensen after a thrilling sprint finish.
Wales' Non Stanford, the 2013 world champion, also made it on to the podium by beating Sarah True to third.
In the men's event, France's Vincent Luis secured victory.
Holland is fifth in the overall standings, behind US trio Jorgensen, Katie Zaferes and True, and New Zealander Andrea Hewitt.
"Gwen had too much for me in the end," said 29-year-old Holland.
England's bronze medallist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games added: "For the last 500m I was at my limit and I tried to respond one last time.
"I am really pleased that I had a great swim, came out front pack, worked hard on the bike and then had a good run so I think I had a good all round race."
Stanford, who has endured injury problems, was thrilled to finish third in Germany.
"I was quite embarrassed by my performance in London and went away and worked on a few things," said the Swansea-born 26-year-old.
"We needed to get two British girls on the podium and that kind of gave me a little extra kick at the end because it has been far too long."
Commonwealth champion Jodie Stimpson withdrew after the Englishwoman appeared to develop mechanical problems during the bike race.
The course in Hamburg comprised a 750m swim, 20km on the bike and a 5km run.
American Jorgensen finished in a time of 57 minutes and eight seconds.
Britain's Alistair and Jonny Brownlee were both missing from the men's individual event through injury.
Olympic and Commonwealth champion Alistair is resting an ankle problem in order to be ready for the Rio Test Event in Brazil on 2 August, while younger brother Jonny is recovering from a stress fracture.
Luis secured his first World Series title in a time of 51 minutes 54 seconds, Spain's Javier Gomez finishing second four seconds behind to stay top of the overall standings.
Fellow Spaniards Mario Mola and Fernando Alarza are second and third respectively, with Alistair Brownlee sixth and Jonny eighth.