Angela Merkel has been judged by viewers to be the more credible candidate following the election debate with her rival, Martin Schulz. What are the CDU and SPD candidates' positions on key domestic and global issues?
Highlights from Merkel/Schulz TV debate
Chancellor Angela Merkel made the more convincing case to lead Germany for the next four years in Sunday's television debate against her election rival, Martin Schulz, according to viewers.
Forty-nine percent of viewers surveyed by German broadcaster ARD viewed Merkel as the more credible over the course of the debate, compared to just 29 percent who favored Social Democrat (SPD) candidate Schulz.
While Schulz said he ultimately agreed with the chancellor's decision, he rebuked her over her handling of the crisis and accused her of failing to coordinate a better European response. "The inclusion of our European neighbors would have been better," Social Democrat (SPD) Schulz said, adding that earlier EU policy would have seen countries such as Poland and Hungary take more responsibility to helping settle refugees.
Melinda Crane and Thorsten Benner analyze the Merkel/Schulz TV debate
That forced Merkel to shoot back, saying that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban made clear from the outset that he was not willing to cooperate. "We had a very dramatic situation... There are times in the life of a chancellor when she has to decide," said the chancellor.
The two candidates also differed on what a future migration policy for Germany should look like. Schulz called for a pan-European law on immigration, financed through Brussels, while Merkel said she favored a skills-based policy that favored migrants with the skills and qualifications Germany requires.
Merkel's statement on Turkey came just minutes after Schulz said he would move to formally halt Turkey's EU membership talks were he elected chancellor.
Merkel initially stopped short of endorsing formalling ending Turkey's EU accession talks because they were de facto already non-existent.
She added that she didn't "see (Turkey) ever joining and I had never believed that it would happen."
Instead of formalling ending EU membership talks, Merkel said she would would look at imposing "real restrictions on economic contact" including through the European Investment Bank, EU aid, World Bank and by blocking talks on expanding Turkey's customs union agreement with the EU, a move that could hit billions of euros in potential Turkish exports to the bloc.
Merkel used this as an opportunity to hone her credentials as a global stateswoman, saying she had discussed the threat from Pyongyang with French President Emmanuel Macron earlier in the day, and that she planned to hold talks with Trump, as well as leaders from Russia, China, Japan and South Korea.
While she stressed that she disagreed with Trump on many issues, Merkel said the North Korean crisis was not something that could be solved with the US, adding that "one must say in the clearest terms that for us, there can only be a peaceful diplomatic solution."
While the two candidates found relatively little to disagree on concerning foreign policy, Schulz played to his image as a champion of social justice.
Germany, he said, is a "clearly prosperous country," but many parts of society - such as single parents, pensioners and the long-term unemployed - remain closed off from those benefits.
The chancellor also rebuked claims from Schulz that the party wanted to raise the retirement age to 70. Merkel said "with absolute certainty" that would not happen under her watch. That prompted praise from her Social Democratic rival, who said he appreciated her "very clear position."
There was little discrepancy between the two candidates when it came to the aftermath of the Dieselgate scandal, with both leaders supporting the continued use of diesel and opposing any ban on diesel-powered cars.
While Schulz has also said the industry should be protected, the SPD candidate accused the chancellor of opposing consumer class action lawsuits against carmakers. Merkel shot back, saying she supported a test case for declaratory action "in principle" but the proposal brought forward by SPD Justice Minister Heiko Maas was too bureaucratic.
Merkel naturally took a much harsher position against the man she defeated in the 2005 federal election, accusing him of undermining EU sanctions imposed on Russia.
Schulz said he had advised Schröder against taking up the position on the Rosneft board, but maintained that the former SPD chancellor had done a great service for Germany, highlighting his decision to keep the country out of the Iraq war.
While he wasn't pleased with the former chancellor's new role, Schulz stressed that this was a "federal election about the future of Germany, not the future of Gerhard Schröder."