One talks about the past, the other about the future. Although their points of reference differ, Chancellor Helmut Kohl and his rival Gerhard Schroeder have similar visions for Germany.

Both candidates in Sunday's national election are playing on the nation's love of stability, making Germans feel comfortable at a time of global economic turmoil. But their approach leaves open the question of whether the winner will tackle reforms.Whoever wins - Kohl, the conservative Christian Democrat, or Schroeder, the center-left Social Democrat - must oversee two enormous changes for Germany next year: the government's move back to the prewar capital of Berlin and the switch to a common European currency, the euro.

At the same time, the fight against unemployment that tops 10 percent appears to require innovative leadership, and neither candidate offers a specific plan.

Kohl and Schroeder share general ideas, such as cutting the thicket of regulations that hurts Germany's competitiveness - making it hard, for example, to start a company - and promoting access to venture capital.