The ECB is very uncomfortable about becoming the largest creditor to these countries and their banks (ECB loans are secured by the peripherals’ bonds, which are risky due to the German “bail-in” scheme).
The ECB’s emergency funding expires in mid-January, and board members are publicly advocating that the funding scheme expire on schedule, thus hanging the peripherals out to dry.
If the peripherals lose access to the ECB, they and their banks will have no choice but to default, imposing large costs on their creditors, including the ECB. This would create a world financial crisis on the scale of 1931.
Someone in Germany is going to have to blink between now and January.