But just six weeks out from the European Union's top economic power and most populous nation going to the polls, Germans are barely taking notice of the election.
Even after 12 years in power, Merkel, frequently called the world's most powerful woman and Europe's de facto leader, looks set for a fourth term.
Gone are the warnings of her political demise heard at the height of the 2015 refugee influx, when nearly 900,000 asylum seekers entered the country.
Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) lead their closest rivals, the Social Democrats (SPD), by a 12-to-17-point margin, meaning it would take a political earthquake to shift the field at this point.
"It is probably the strangest election race in the history of the Federal Republic," Heribert Prantl of the national broadsheet Sueddeutsche Zeitung wrote this week.
"There is no wind, never mind a wind of change."
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