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.