When it comes down to ranking websites in Germany, my PERSONAL belief is that its much more easier and you can use strategys and methods that would might get you penalized at the U.S market. This is my personal belief, so this might not be the truth but i've seen it thousands of times.
While you always need to take care in the U.S market, you can still fire spammy links to german websites and rank them highly. This might not be a long-term method, but works for short term.
I am quiet frustrated that it seem's that Googles updates are not effecting foreign languages that much yet. It seems like the updates are not rolled out in different languages, but thats just me.
Hope you enjoyed my writing and i hope i have shed some light onthi