Angela Merkel hopes to become German chancellor for the third time this autumn. She's popular with Germans, but little of her popularity has rubbed off on her party, the CDU, and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU. In addition, the FDP, the junior partner in the coalition, is fighting for political survival.
The SPD challenger Peer Steinbrück, is off to a bumpy start, but he has a strong potential coalition partner - the Greens. It promises to be an exciting election year.