Lena Meyer-Landrut's surprise win with "Satellite" in 2010 might have pushed Germany back into the Eurovision spotlight, but the country's relationship with the competition stretches right back to its launch in 1956. As Eurovision fever officially gets underway, DW takes a look at some of Germany's key moments from more than 50 years in the contest.
Before the rule was established that the winning country hosted the next year's event, hosting duties were rotated among participating nations. Germany's turn came with the second contest. Broadcast from the studios of Hessischer Rundfunk in Frankfurt, this somewhat primitive production is a far cry from the contest's slick glamor now. Here is host Anaid Iplicjian (l) during the voting.
One thing every country wants to avoid is the ignominy of being awarded no points whatsoever. Germany failed to garner any votes two years in a row. First in 1964 (with Nora Nova, pictured here) and again in 1965, putting the Swinging Sixties in the running for the country's worst decade at the contest.
By the 1970s however, Germany was back with a hat trick of Top 5 placings on the finals board. Katja Ebstein represented Germany in 1970 and again in 1971 with "Wunder gibt es immer wieder" (Miracles Keep Happening) and "Diese Welt" (This World) respectively while Mary Roos (l) performed "Nur die Liebe läßt uns leben" (Only Love Lets us Live) in 1972. All three songs finished in third place.
According to author John Kennedy O'Connor's official Eurovision history, singer Katja Ebstein is the most successful performer to have taken part in Eurovision without ever scoring a win. After her two high-charting songs in the early 70s, Katja was back representing Germany in the 1980 contest, finishing in second place with "Theater." The original Lena Meyer-Landrut you might say!
After a handful of near misses, Germany finally scored a win in 1982 thanks to 17-year-old Nicole Seibert and her Cold War anthem, "Ein bißchen Frieden" (A Little Peace). It's still among the most popular and distinctive Eurovision songs, and its success inspired Germany to commission songwriter Ralph Siegel to compose no fewer than nine further entries for the country!
Germany was host nation for the 28th contest after their 1982 win. A divided Berlin meant the capital wasn't a practical option; instead the event was broadcast from Munich's Rudi Sedlmayer Hall. It was hosted by Marlene Charell, who announced points in three languages - leading the voting to drag on for over an hour. She also mangled her languages… awarding Sweden's points to Switzerland.
Schlager outfit Wind have represented Germany at Eurovision three times and remain the only act in the history of the contest to finish in second place on two separate occasions. This feat was achieved at their 1985 debut where they performed "Für alle" (For All) and again in 1987 where they sang "Lass die Sonne in dein Herz" (Let the Sunshine into your Heart), the band's signature tune.
Germany never managed a win throughout this decade but still came close with two admirable placings on the finals board. First in 1994, thanks to perky girl group trio Mekado, and again in 1999 with the German-Turkish six-piece band Sürpriz (pictured), Germany ended up in the Top 5; both songs closed the contest in third place.
As one of the five biggest financial contributors to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which hosts Eurovision, Germany now automatically qualifies for the final. That wasn't always the case, though. Due to record numbers wanting to participate in '96, the EBU introduced pre-selection to ensure only 23 nations made it through. Germany failed to qualify.
In more than fifty years at the contest, Germany has rotated through an ever-changing parade of some 23 broadcasters who provide the commentary for domestic TV and radio audiences. Consistency was established in 1997 with the arrival of radio host Peter Urban. With the exception of 2009, when illness kept him away, he's been behind the microphone at every Eurovision since his debut.
28 years since their previous win - and with performances and songs varying from the average to the outright abysmal - Germany returned to form in 2010, scooping the trophy with a slick pop track performance by young singer Lena with "Satellite." The quirky 19-year-old singer was credited with injecting Eurovision with some much-needed credibility.
It was a surprise to many when Düsseldorf and not Berlin was announced as host city for the 56th Eurovision Song Contest. The Esprit Arena on the northern bank of the River Rhine staged a spectacular show, combining the Germans' legendary efficiency with their love of a rowdy party. Lena returned to defend her title while media mogul Stefan Raab hosted alongside Anke Engelke and Judith Rakers.
This year sees Cascada take to the stage representing Germany with the track "Glorious". Whether the trio will lead the country to a third victory or crash and burn with the dreaded "0 Points" remains to be seen. Despite eleven countries declining to participate this year, a global television audience in excess of 120 million will certainly be tuning in to watch the tops and flops on May 18th!
A look at more than 50 years of highlights from Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest.