1. Can Ursula von der Leyen plan for a second term?

SPIEGEL (and other media) reported it as breaking news at midday: Ursula von der Leyen wants a second term as President of the EU Commission. That wasn't a surprise, von der Leyen's ambitions have long been clear. Today the CDU politician declared herself in the executive committees of her party.

It is the first step towards official candidacy. This seems to be just a formality. It is considered certain that the EU's Christian Democratic parties, which are united in the European People's Party (EPP), will choose von der Leyen as their top candidate at a meeting on March 7 in Bucharest. There is no competition in sight anywhere.

Does this clear the way for a second term in office? It looks like this. My colleague Markus Becker writes: "It seems unlikely that someone else will be nominated for the post by the heads of state and government after the European elections on June 9th and then confirmed by the EU Parliament."

From Brussels' perspective, this is good news: Von der Leyen has secured more and more power for the Commission in recent years. The fact that the EU was allowed to take on debt on a large scale for the first time in order to combat the consequences of Corona is their doing. After her re-election, she wants to create the position of defense commissioner. Whether it is good for Europe if more and more powers are given to a single authority is a completely different question.

  • Read the full story here: She's supposed to take on Putin 

2. What are the Russian authorities hiding?

The Kremlin claims that Alexei Navalny died of a blood clot on the afternoon of February 16. There are now massive doubts about this version. Only an autopsy could provide information. But the Russian authorities still refuse to hand over the body of the dissident.

“Without an independent autopsy, it would be impossible to determine Navalny’s cause of death,” writes my colleague Lina Verschwele. An examination of the body could still produce reliable findings, explains forensic doctor Stefanie Ritz from the Düsseldorf University Hospital, with whom Lina spoke. »With every passing day, however, this becomes more and more difficult. Then the time comes for those who want to cover something up.

Navalny's poisoning showed years ago that the Kremlin is trying to kill him. Despite his poor health, Navalny lived under brutal conditions in a prison camp in the Arctic Circle. He was placed in strict solitary confinement 27 times. Navalny's widow Yulia Navalnaya accuses Russian President Vladimir Putin of murdering her husband - and renewed her call to resist (more on that here). Whatever the cause of the opposition leader's death, there is no question as to who is politically responsible for his death.

  • Read more here: What are Russia's powerful people covering up? 

3. How long will Tuchel stay?

As a fan of 1. FC Köln, these are not easy days for me. But my pain, as much honesty is required, is alleviated by the situation at FC Bayern, with whom we of course see eye-to-eye. Three defeats in the last three games, eight points behind league leaders Leverkusen - the series winners of recent years have not been seen in such desolation for ages.

“What’s wrong with FC Bayern?” asks my colleague Marcus Bark in his analysis. He doesn't have a real answer either - because there isn't one. In the 2-3 win against VfL Bochum, top scorer Harry Kane missed chances that he would have had blindfolded two months ago. The defense was demonstrated not only by Leverkusen artists, but also by Bochum football workers. “There are defenders wandering around in the back, whose transfer fees the Bochum team pays for their squad for several seasons,” writes Marcus.

How long will those responsible look at this without drawing conclusions? The answer at least seems clear: not for long. My colleague Danial Montazeri writes that only a win against RB Leipzig at the weekend and progress against Lazio Rome at the beginning of March would probably save Tuchel's job. It is possible that, if successful, the coach will be allowed to continue until the summer. “Even Thomas Tuchel himself probably doesn’t expect Bayern to have a future beyond the season,” writes Danial.

  • Read more here: In the Valley of Trainers 

What else is important today?

  • Lithuania's Foreign Minister warns of a European "Pearl Harbor moment"

    "We have a very aggressive neighbor with the intention of testing NATO," says Lithuania's Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis. He sees only one way to stop Russia in time.

  • Survey sees Trump as the worst president in US history

    Making the USA “great again” is one of Trump's well-known promises. But science agrees: he did the worst job in the White House, Biden is doing much better. The table at a glance.

  • EU Commission opens proceedings against TikTok

    Is TikTok designed to be addictive, does the video platform spread harmful content? The EU Commission would like to find out in a formal procedure.

  • According to Hertha BSC, Bobic is said to have passed on secret documents.

    Just over a year ago, Bundesliga soccer team Hertha BSC kicked out the then managing director Fredi Bobic, and now they have met again in court. The focus is on documents and a television interview.

What we recommend today at SPIEGEL+

  • North Korean hackers target defense companies

    The empire of dictator Kim Jong Un is considered backward, but his hacker formations are among the most active in the world. Now the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution is warning of attacks on a specific industry. 

  • How women get ripped off by women:

    This will probably get many people's pulses racing: an (old white) man explains why female financial advice in particular is a toxic business model. Mansplaining at its best? Read for yourself.

  • How do you solve decades-old capital crimes, Ms. Marquardt?

    Annette Marquardt is passionate about unsolved old cases, so-called cold cases. The prosecutor relies on young brains and new technologies. Why witnesses' memories are often deceptive and how "file number XY" still helps.

Which is less important today

Truckers for Trump:

Truck drivers who support

Donald Trump

, 77,

have called for a boycott of the city of New York, as the news magazine Independent reports. They want to express their displeasure with a verdict that a New York court had imposed against the ex-president. The truckers would begin to stop delivering goods to New York City on Monday, wrote user Chicago1Ray on X, formerly Twitter. »I don't know how widely this call will spread in the country or how many truckers will join. But I’ll tell you what: you’ll damn well find out.”

Mini concave mirror

You can find the entire concave mirror here.

Cartoon of the day

And tonight?

I'll watch the summaries of FC Bayern Munich's last three games on YouTube. The long version. I've seen it before, but it's always fun. And then maybe I'll treat myself to a few more videos from better times: The 5:1 of 1. FC Köln against Bayern in the DFB Cup in 1972. The 4:0 in the Müngersdorfer Stadium in the 1981/82 season. Or the last victory for now, the 3-2 in 2011. Cheap escapism? True. But there is so little reason for joy in the world right now, you have to create the opportunities yourself. Try it, it works.

Have a nice evening, stay with us

Your Ralf Neukirch, Head of Opinion and Debate