Major champions Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson will head into the weekend just a shot off the lead at the BMW International Open in Munich.
Garcia is making his first appearance in Europe since his maiden Major triumph at the Masters in April while Stenson is seeking to defend the title he won by three shots in Cologne last season.
The Ryder Cup duo got to eight under in windy conditions on Friday but that was not good enough to keep pace with Frenchman Joel Stalter and Swede Joakim Lagergren, who led the way after two rounds.
Lagergren had set the target in the morning with an impressive 66 and rookie Stalter was the only one of the later starters who could catch him as he posted a 68.
Garcia had held a share of the lead at the turn after a hat-trick of birdies from the seventh but dropped shots on the 14th and 17th stalled his momentum before he carded a closing birdie in a round of 70.
Stenson went one better with a 69 that contained birdies on the 11th, 18th, first and eighth and a single blemish on the 13th.
“I’m not on top of my game by any means but I think it was a good kind of professional fighting display,” Stenson said afterwards.
“We kept it pretty tidy, anyway, and made a couple of birdies when we had the chances and didn’t drop too many. You don’t have to be ashamed of three under I guess around here.”
England's Richard Bland was also at eight under after a 69 alongside Belgian Thomas Detry and Swede Rikard Karlberg.
“I’m in a good position,” said Bland. “We’ve got 36 holes left and hopefully if I can just try to keep improving, I should, hopefully, might be in there come Sunday.”
Matthew Southgate was then in the group at seven under, a shot clear of in-form Tommy Fleetwood.