Merkel and Putin have regularly clashed in the past. Most notably, the German leader fruitlessly attempted to persuade Putin of a diplomatic solution when war raged in the eastern region of Ukraine in 2014.
Merkel also annoyed her Russian counterpart in 2012 when she questioned a two-year jail sentence for the band Pussy Riot who had sung anti-Putin "punk prayer" in a Moscow cathedral. Putin rebuked Merkel, suggesting she did not known all the facts of the case.
In August, the U.S. administration said it would impose further sanctions against Russia as punishment for the alleged use of a nerve agent in an apparent assassination attempt on a former spy that ultimately killed a British citizen.
Merkel joined President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May in a rare joint statement that said "there is no plausible alternative explanation" to Russian responsibility.
But on other issues the pair have agreed, and they are currently united in maintaining the 2014 Iran nuclear accord that saw several world powers remove sanctions on Iran in exchange for the Middle Eastern country agreeing to stop enriching uranium.
The United States pulled out of that agreement and in May the U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, said German businesses should immediately wind down any operations in Iran. John Bolton, Trump's national security advisor, then added that European companies that do business in Iran could face U.S.-imposed economic sanctions.
Moreover, a new gas pipeline linking Russia to Germany, known as Nord Stream 2, has given the two countries a potential common cause. But, the United States sees the pipeline as a reach of Russian control into Western Europe and has threatened further sanctions on Moscow, which could have knock-on effects for German firms. Although, the U.S. has given assurances that the new penalties won't affect the building of the gas pipeline.
In an email to CNBC Friday, the managing director of political consultancy Teneo Intelligence, Carsten Nickel, said that while Trump's threat of Nord Stream 2 related sanctions affected both countries, it would not bring about a German pivot toward Moscow.
"Instead, it demonstrates that a fundamental pattern remains the same as in the (Barack) Obama days: Merkel, not the White House, is Putin's key interlocutor in the West," said Nickel.