BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives are hoping to add momentum to the German leader's quest for a third term with a big state election win on Sunday in prosperous Bavaria — just a week before the whole country goes to the polls.

Germany's main opposition party has fielded its strongest Bavarian candidate in years in hopes of ousting from power the Merkel-allied Christian Social Union, the region's dominant force. But polls suggest that isn't likely to lift its performance much — just as it struggles to motivate voters nationally.

Merkel is heavily favored to emerge from the Sept. 22 national election with a third four-year term. Polls show Merkel's conservative bloc leading the pack — though not by the 25-point margin or more the CSU enjoys in Bavaria.

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