Monaco, fresh off his title in Chile on Sunday, got the first point of the tie by blasting Philipp Petzschner 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, and the former Wimbledon runner- up Nalbandian followed by overcoming Florian Mayer 2-6, 6-0, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) on the red clay at Stechert Arena Bamberg.
Saturday's doubles currently pit an Argentine tandem of Juan Ignacio Chela and Eduardo Schwank against a German duo of Petzschner and former world No. 2 Tommy Haas, while Sunday's reverse singles currently call for Monaco to meet Mayer and Nalbandian to take on Petzschner.
The Argentines, still seeking that elusive first-ever Davis Cup title, are captained by Martin Jaite, while the three-time champion Germans are guided by Patrik Kuhnen. Argentina lost to mighty Spain in last year's final and has been the Davis Cup runner-up four times without winning.
The winner here will meet the Croatia-Japan victor in the quarterfinals in April.