With no workers to fill job vacancies, bills spiralling out of control and a rise in drug addicts on the streets, Germany - still widely viewed as Europe's economic powerhouse - slipped into a recession last week.
Once famed for the financial might of its currency, the truth is that working-class and middle-class people in Germany are feeling the pinch.
Rental, energy and supermarket prices are rising, tightening the purse strings of an already thrifty nation further.
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