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.
German chancellor is running out of options to form a viable government.
The chancellor wins again, but the rise of the populists will probably force the next administration to the right.
German elections are typically tame. Jockeying for power takes place later, in negotiations for a coalition government. Could the xenophobic Alternative for Germany form the opposition?