With one eye on their economy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her economy minister have given the strongest indication yet that Russia's continued isolation may be coming to an end. Ivor Bennett reports.
Most probably wouldn't think twice. World champions Germany or rank outsider Ukraine? But for Leipzig zoo's new football oracle, this was one to ponder Oobi-Ooobi the koala staying in his tree... or rather on the fence. (SOUNDBITE) (German) DIRECTOR OF LEIPZIG ZOO, JOERG JUNHOLD, SAYING: "It will be a very interesting game, we could see that it went back and forward. But at the end of the day - even if nobody want to hear it in politics - he foresaw a draw." In politics, though, the stalemate may soon be broken. And in this Germany and Ukraine are on the same side. There's no question over who their opponent is. But the German chancellor said this was no time to attack them instead to remind Russia to shoot at the same goal. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING : "Let me say very clearly that sanctions are no end in themselves. They have been issued in a certain context. The Minsk agreement is the basis where we can set up the conditions to lift these sanctions again." By that she means the peace deal. Her economy minister reportedly going one step further, calling for Russia to be allowed back in the G7. For him, there were no conditions. A glance at second quarter figures tells you why. The China slowdown not the only thing weighing on growth. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) OANDA, SENIOR MARKET ANALYST, CRAIG ERLAM, SAYING: "Another big partner for Germany is Russia and because of the sanctions that's also having negative implications. So I think there's a number of factors that are weighing on German growth right now and therefore we're seeing much lower levels of growth that I'm sure the German elite would like to see." The football may not provide much comfort either. Cologne's oracle - Astrid the sea-lion - following her nose and going for Ukraine.