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T-Online is a local german provider, owned by the german telecom.
Generally, I'd say germans use google.de, since google redirects to that if you ask for google.com from germany without any parameters.
It's not so difficult to rank fine on yahoo or MSN live search German.., but I found difficult to rank fine on Google.de.
I am referring to sites in German language.
I have the impression that google.de has its own algo.....
Having a local domain and local hosting helps a lot but the algo recipe seems different compared to google.com .
Also we usually use google.de, because if you're typing in Google.com and have a German IP address it seems that you get redirected to google.de anyway.