FASTER, PLEASE: Angela Merkel’s political near-death experience in Bavarian brawl. “Fight over migration risks toppling chancellor’s alliance — and her government.”

Merkel’s refusal to endorse a plan by her Bavarian interior minister to turn back some refugees at the German border set the stage for a showdown that, barring a last-minute compromise, could bring down her government.

“I consider illegal immigration to be one of the biggest challenges for the European Union and think that we therefore should not act unilaterally, without consultation and at the expense of third parties,” Merkel said Thursday at the end of a day packed with crisis meetings.

The dispute ostensibly revolves around the question of whether Germany should turn back refugees who have applied for asylum in other EU countries. Merkel opposes the policy on the grounds it could hasten the collapse of Europe’s system of open frontiers by forcing Germany’s neighbors to re-impose border controls.

The root of the dispute has less to do with that narrow question, however, than with Merkel’s broader refugee policy, which the CSU has resisted from the beginning.

Worst German Chancellor since… you know.