Anglo-German tensions have risen with open moves like gold repatriation, spy ejections, protests against the US Federal Reserve in Germany, and explicit anger over NSA spying. The current chessboard has the little Ukrainian piece that the US was eager to topple but Germany wasn't, inspiring Victoria Nuland to say "f*ck the EU". Fast forward months later, and with real civil war going on, it has been leaked that the German's were close to a land for gas deal to end sanctions, bring a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine crisis and keep the gas flowing. Russia is Germany's 11th biggest trade partner. Germany is a bit more reliant than France or the UK on Russian gas, and right now Germany is the only piece of the EU able to fund all the bailout mechanisms and keep growing. Each time a nation needs some form of bailout in the EU, their share of the bailout responsibility would have to be picked up by solvent nations. This gets ugly quick. Germany cannot absorb losses or hits whether to them or the EU. This is why it makes sense for them to reach out directly as reported to solve the American manufactured Ukrainian crisis.
Read the UK Independent's leaked Germany-Russia deal article. Angela Merkel is involved, and the leak specifically cites her dealing with Putin. Contrast this with President Obama's interactions with Putin.
Such strong trade ties between the two countries have also served to strengthen Ms Merkel’s hand and the Russian speaker has emerged as the leading advocate of closer relations between the EU and Russia. “This is Merkel’s deal. She has been dealing direct with President Putin on this. She needs to solve the dispute because it’s in no one’s interest to have tension in Ukraine or to have Russia out in the cold. No one wants another Cold War,” said one insider close to the negotiations.
It states basic diplomatic measures that gets the gas flowing again, recognizes the Crimea as Russian, sets up a looser Ukraine and stops Ukrainian entry into NATO. Peace for Europe, but the USG does not get its way.
This also explains the MH17 crash being something to use on Germany, not Russia. This becomes a quick wedge. Read the land for gas link. Germany was ready to wrap up the Ukraine solution until MH17 happened. The initial accusation of Russian involvement paused the negotiations from completing, and now, everyone knows, which means the US can apply pressure openly on Germany. The indirect pressure has been out for a while. The US Federal Reserve warned Deutsche Bank for its derivatives portfolio and is throwing up regulatory obstacles to DB's move into the US. Maybe Deutsche Bank will be the next AIG. Wall Street could use a new fall guy. MH17 itself is going to be investigated in the Netherlands with German technical help. It would be incredibly evil to set up a plane crash, but no need for much speculation considering no one has an answer for the first Malaysian Airlines crash. Timing is too odd, and so is the American rush to implicate Russia and now backing off as evidence seems to be sparse but not pointing to Russia.
The USG, mad drunk leviathan that it is, will not let a peaceful resolution happen quickly. It also must work to keep its clients in line. Germany is making long term moves and must see the future for the USG, which is a destiny the USG mandarins will not accept. German media is noticing that the USG is acting so wild that it would be an easy sell that it was the work of KGB moles to make the US look bad. It is a bit of a mad world we live in where the Western media demonize Putin, who whether working for Russian interests or just his own, is setting up with the Chinese a monetary bloc to counter and slow down the USG, offered up a solution in Syria that stopped US warplanes, and was just trying to end a Ukrainian Civil War. The US media cannot admit we are at fault because the US media's chosen good guys are at the helm of the ship. The USG can pull stunts like this now, but eventually the threats will get emptier or a big enough client will force action on a threat, and things will get ugly. Dollars hold it all together, and dollars will bring it down. Germany knows this. If Germany can set up shop in Europe as the regional hegemon, it might as well make buddies with the eastern neighbor that is nuclear armed.