Angela Merkel heads to Washington Thursday for her first meeting with President George Bush since she became chancellor. Many hope US-German relations will get a strong boost.
Will Berlin and Washington stand together strong as partners?
After the iciness that characterized American relations under her predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, following Germany's resistance to the war in Iraq, Merkel is expected to once again warm up the transatlantic relationship by reducing tensions between Berlin and Washington.
But the expectations are high -- unrealistically high, some say -- and Merkel's recent criticism of the US prison camp in Guantanamo Bay and differences of opinion on the methods the United States employs in the fight against terror could serve as stumbling blocks on the road to friendlier ties. DW-WORLD takes a look at how German-American relations have begun to improve and some of the critical issues of Merkel's as yet brief administration.