Martin Schulz has said he'd rather go back into opposition than agree to another grand coalition. But is that sensible?
The parliamentary arithmetic suggests Merkel would actually be in quite a stable position if she goes it alone, without calling fresh elections.
The chancellor wins again, but the rise of the populists will probably force the next administration to the right.
Few thought she'd go the distance when she first came to power. That was more than a decade ago.
Follow the money to see if Angela Merkel is on course for a fourth term as chancellor after the September vote.
The past few years have been tough for the German chancellor, but she has confirmed that she will be standing in the next election.