The German brewers can force carbonate if the CO2 has been recovered from fermentation. Then it is considered a natural ingredient from the brewing process, and can be used. Industrial derived CO2 is verboten. This would mean that the small breweries would not do it due to cost.Yeah I think that's nuts. My personal preference is 2-3 days/°P, but I have no problem with going faster than that when I have to, especially for average gravity and below.I would agree with you.
It's not empirical evidence or anything, but my Maibock scored a 41 in the first round of NHC and it was 11 weeks old at that point. Assuming it was stored cold the whole time, that's 3.3 days/°P of lagering.
Once you are done fermenting (and you ferment properly) you can lager just couple of days (this would also apply for ales).
Let's remember that Germans are lagering and carbonating at the same time (can not force carbonate).
This means that fermantation is still going on.
This is why it takes them longer time to lager.