The parties have spent months courting voters on the campaign trail. The start was low-key, with tension gradually building into the final days.
Helmut Kohl, chancellor for 16 years, presided over German reunification and set the euro currency in motion. Fellow Christian Democrat Angela Merkel wrote that "Germany has much to thank him for" in a glowing tribute.
A recent anti-Islamization demonstration in Dresden that made a point of avoiding right-wing symbols drew thousands. Now, the PEGIDA movement is spreading to other cities, fueled by worries of Islamic radicalism.
The upstart Alternative for Germany party attracted voters in the last election with its tough anti-euro currency stance. Now, in a quest to enter the European Parliament, the party is embracing populist sentiments.
If Germany's future federal government is made up of the country's two largest political groups, it won't receive much support from younger party members. They oppose the grand coalition alliance for several reasons.