It ended Austria’s incredible winning streak in the event — it had won gold in the last two Olympics and hadn’t lost a team large hill event since the 2005 world championships.
Germany, represented by Andreas Wank, Marinus Kraus, Andres Wellinger and Severin Freund, won its third gold in the event. Freund’s final jump gave Germany the win by 2.7 points.
Austria was represented by Michael Hayboeck, Thomas Morgenstern, Thomas Diethart and Gregor Schlierenzauer.
Japan, with Reruhi Shimizu, Taku Takeuchi, Daiki Ito and large hill silver medalist Noriaki Kasai, earned the bronze.
Wank won silver with the German team at Vancouver in 2010 while his teammates all won their first Olympic medals.
The silver medal was bittersweet for three-time Olympic champion Morgenstern, who was badly injured in a fall in early January and nearly didn’t make it to Sochi. Then he failed to qualify for the final round of the individual large hill event, finishing 40th.
Norway, the birthplace of Nordic combined but which has never won an Olympic team title — it earned bronze in Vancouver — led after the opening two groups of the first round. But Austria edged ahead on Diethart’s jump of 136 meters, leaving the defending champions in first place with one group to go in the opening round.
Germany took the lead for the first time — by 2.5 points over Austria, with Japan third — after the first round when the field was cut from 12 countries to eight. At that stage, double gold medal winner Kamil Stoch and Poland were in fourth — where they finished — more than 18 points behind Japan and looking like a medal was out of reach.
Austria regained the lead — on a jump of 130 meters by Hayboeck — after the first set of jumpers in the final round, edging Germany back into second and the two countries dueled for the rest of the second round.
After Poland in fourth, it was Slovenia, Norway, Czech Republic and Finland.
The United States team of Nicholas Alexander of Brattleboro, Vt., Anders Johnson of Park City, Utah, Nicholas Fairall of Andover, N.H., and Peter Frenette of Saranac Lake, N.Y., failed to advance past the first round when the starting 12 countries were cut to eight, finishing 10th. All but Fairall wore fake red, white and blue moustaches, including the Stars and Stripes, for the occasion.
Also not advancing from the first round were ninth-place Russia, 11th-place South Korea, and last-place Canada. The third Canadian jumper, Matthew Rowley, crashed on his landing but walked away from the out-run more angry with himself than hurt.