Alex Gregory admitted the Great Britain men's four received a "kick up the backside" with their semi-final defeat to arch rivals Australia at the Munich World Cup.
The two fastest crews in the world will meet again in the final and Britain are determined to lay down a marker heading into the Olympic Games.
The Munich World Cup is the last international regatta before London 2012 and Britain have an impressive 14 finalists in action across 12 Olympic classes, two more than in either Belgrade or Lucerne.
The showdown between the Australians and Britain's flagship crew of Gregory, Andrew Triggs Hodge, Pete Reed and Tom James is shaping up to be one of the Olympic rowing highlights.
Gregory sought to put a brave face on things but the British crew reeked of frustration as they warmed down after the race.
"I am not happy with today's race but it is not a bad thing. It gives us a kick up the backside and more motivation," Gregory said.
"It is always nice to win races and we always want to win races - but there is one race we have to win this year and that is not tomorrow, that is at the Olympics on August 4.
"Everything is just stepping stones to that. Small steps along the way."
Australia's crew of William Lockwood, James Chapman, Drew Ginn and Joshua Dunkley-Smith opened a length lead by the halfway mark on the 1972 Olympic course.
Britain succeeded in overhauling the Australians in similar circumstances at last month's Lucerne World Cup regatta to take the gold medal.
Today, Britain left themselves with too much to do, despite a strong sprint finish, and James is determined to use tomorrow's final as a launch-pad for Olympic success.
"It's tough out there. You can't make slip-ups," James said.
"Tomorrow is another opportunity. It is not panic stations. They are a quick crew but we have to row better than that.
"A win tomorrow would be a very significant step and give us a platform going forward.
"Whatever happens we will know where we are compared to the opposition. Whenever you have two boats going head to head there is rivalry.
"It is important to put a good race together and give ourselves that benchmark."
There will be an Ashes theme to tomorrow's finals.
The Australian women's double pose the biggest threat to Britain's double world champions Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins, who are unbeaten in 20 races.
Britain claimed their first medals of the regatta today, with Paul Mattick and Adam Freeman Pask winning gold in the lightweight men's pairs, a non-Olympic class.
Britain have improved their number of A finalists in Munich after impressive performances from the men's quad and from their second single sculler Graham Thomas.
The quad of Stephen Rowbotham, Tom Solesbury, Charles Cousins and Matthew Wells reached their first A final of the season, powering through the field from fifth to finish second.
Thomas joined Alan Campbell in the final of the men's single scull with a third-place finish in his semi-final behind Marcel Hacker and Olympic champion Olaf Tufte.
The British lightweight double of Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase continued their return to form after a disappointing performance in Lucerne by winning their semi-final.
The world and Olympic champions beat France into second place in a time that was four seconds quicker than key gold medal rivals New Zealand recorded in the other semi-final.
In the Paralympic class finals, Britain's world champion mixed adaptive coxed four - Pam Relph, Naomi Riches, Dave Smith, James Roe and cox Lily van den Broecke - won gold after coming from behind to beat Germany in a nail-biting finish.
"That was definitely one of our best performances," said Roe.
"We have never had to come from behind with 250m to go. Obviously, we have practised that in training but we've never had to use it."
Andy Houghton won bronze in the arms-only single scull final - but he was not satisfied.
"I'm really disappointed with that," said Houghton, who had leg muscle spasms throughout.
"I just wanted a good run at it today as my times in training are comparable with these guys, the medallists."