Voting may be over but the process to decide what Germany’s next government will look like has only just begun, writes Mattie Brignal.

After a nail-biting night in which the country’s post-Merkel direction hung in the balance, Olaf Sholz’s left-leaning SPD came out on top with 25.8 per cent of the vote, narrowly pipping Armin Laschet’s embattled conservative CDU/CSU pairing which gained just 24.1 per cent, its worst ever result.