Schröder's bromance, uncontrolled goalies, unexploded bombs

A two-minute read

Dear Reader,

We hope you’re having an enjoyable weekend. Here’s a review of the past seven days, and a look at what’s happening next week.

The week that was

The past seven days have seen the number of coronavirus cases in Germany rising at a rate Angela Merkel warns could end in a “loss of control.”

  • The army may now be asked to help cities with high case rates. Use of soldiers inside Germany is always a controversial move.

  • Germany’s biggest cities have so far collected €3 million in fines from people who have broken the coronavirus rules. You might not be surprised to learn that Munich has issued €1.2 million in fines while Berlin has taken in just €120,000.

Gerhard Schröder’s close personal friendship with Vladimir Putin is becoming ever more embarrassing for the German elite. Deutsche Welle details the history of this “bromance.”

Stoiber, Schröder, Putin and Medvedev in October 2009 (Source:

Talking of Russia, Moscow is hoping to move in on Germany’s pork export market after the first cases of African Swine Fever were confirmed in Brandenburg last month. The industry portal PigProgress gives further details.

If you can’t get enough of Russia, may we remind you of our Friday piece on the murder of a Chechen rebel leader in a Berlin park last year. Plus, Berlin and Paris are preparing sanctions against Moscow over the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

The first nationwide report into extremism in the security forces has been released, detailing hundreds of cases that contravened the constitution. Interior Minister Seehofer sought to portray the number as small in relation to the size of the army and police forces while conceding that each one was “a disgrace.” Read more in the Guardian.

A goalie in the lower leagues of German football has been banned for eight years after jumping on a referee's back in protest at a penalty decision. His club has also issued a restraining order against him, says ESPN.

Coming up…

Angela Merkel is in Brussels on Thursday and Friday for a European Council summit. On the agenda are our old friends: Covid-19, Brexit, and Russia sanctions.

A heads-up for anyone living in Koblenz. A WWII bomb is going to be defused there next Sunday, meaning that 15,000 people will have to be evacuated. You can find further details here.

The Frankfurt Book Fair, one of the largest in the word, is always held at this time of year, but is taking place online this year. The Israeli author David Grossman is the headline act.

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Jörg & Axel