Howell is two clear after shooting a 66
GB & Ire unless stated
-14 D Howell
-12 P Harrington, C Montgomerie, M Erlandsson (Swe)
-11 S Khan, H Stenson (Swe)
-6 P Broadhurst
-5 T Bjorn (Den)
-3 J Edfors (Swe)
David Howell, Padraig Harrington and Colin Montgomerie made the European Ryder Cup picture clearer by surging to the top of the leaderboard in Munich.
Howell leads on 14 under, two ahead of Harrington and Montgomerie, but the trio chasing Ryder Cup places all look to have slipped out of the running.
Paul Broadhurst shot 67 for six under, while Thomas Bjorn (71) is five under and Johan Edfors (72) three under.
Broadhurst needs to finish in the top three to get into the Ryder Cup team.
Edfors' hopes of a top-two finish look to have gone, while Bjorn needs victory to make the team.
If I miss out I'll be devastated
Bjorn at one stage climbed to eighth, but a bogey and a double bogey dropped him back down to 39th.
Harrington was assured of his place in the team on Friday when Paul McGinley missed the cut.
Harrington's round of 64, combined with Montgomerie and Howell both shooting 66, seems now to have ensured McGinley and Jose Maria Olazabal will take the ninth and 10th places in the team.
That will just leave Ian Woosnam to pick his wildcards.
Darren Clarke seems certain to be given the first, and Lee Westwood is favourite for the second.
Westwood did his chances no harm with a 68 to lie five of the lead on nine under.
Bjorn, who earlier backed Clarke's case for a wildcard, believes it is between Westwood and himself for the final place.
"If I was captain that's the way I'd be thinking - and that's the talk amongst everybody," said Bjorn.
"If I miss out I'll be devastated.
"Lee and I have been friends for 10 years and when it comes to a week like this it's difficult to put friendship aside and battle it out.
"If I don't win tomorrow then Woosie has got to make a difficult decision and one of us is going to be disappointed."
Whatever Woosnam decides, he is entitled to feel happy with how the team is shaping up for their attempt at what would be an unprecedented third successive victory over the Americans.
Defending champion Howell would have been further clear but for hooking into water on the last and taking a bogey six.
Harrington had his lowest round in a European tour event for nearly four years.
Montgomerie decided to celebrate his improved form by jumping in a private jet to head off to see Robbie Williams in concert.