Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug has admitted that he was expecting Audi to dominate qualifying at Oschersleben.
The 2009-spec Abt Sportsline cars locked out the top four places on Saturday, which meant they were the only team contesting the fourth segment of qualifying that decides pole position.
Bruno Spengler was the top Mercedes driver in sixth place, but Haug said afterwards that he did not expect much more from the session.
"We knew it was going to be very difficult here, and it is," he said. "I didn't expect us to be in Q4, and we are certainly not out for the win tomorrow.
"From P6 for us it will be very difficult - our colleagues must get it fundamentally wrong if they want us to win this race. From now on it shouldn't be that difficult [for Audi]."
While Mercedes was always going to struggle this weekend due to its 2009 cars weighing 20 kilograms more than the Audis, Haug didn't entirely blame the performance deficit on the success ballast.
"The weight is worth around three tenths of a second per lap here, maybe more on a hot lap," he added. "But even taking into consideration the weight we are not where we should be.
"I think in racing conditions we should be better, and we need to try to score some points. Audi are the favourites, but let's see what we can do."