ROSA KHUTOR, Russia Germany could only manage to eke out a narrow lead in the Nordic combined team competition on Thursday after the jumping event, leaving the way open for Norway to take control on the cross-country course.
The four-man German team put in a series of solid jumps from the large hill and will start the 4x5km relay race seven seconds ahead of Austria, who won the event in 2010.
The cross-country race is due to begin at 1100 GMT (6 am ET).
The Norwegians - who took gold and silver in the individual large hill event on Tuesday - will start 25 seconds behind the Germans but will fancy their chances of making up that gap over the cross-country course.
"We have a big chance to win the gold ... the dream can come true but there's a hard race left," Haavard Klemetsen told reporters.
Germany are led by Olympic gold medalist Eric Frenzel, who won the normal hill event last week but is still recovering from a virus he picked up on Saturday.
"At the moment I feel fine ... the whole team feels really well," a pale-looking Frenzel told reporters.
The United States, who won silver four years ago, jumped poorly and are in eighth place, almost two minutes behind the Germans.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)