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Sports

German Bundesliga Clubs Modest as Transfer Season Ends

Ukraine striker Andriy Voronin arrived at Hertha Berlin from Liverpool just before the transfer window shut at midnight Monday as Bundesliga spending on new players topped 150 million euros ($217 million) this summer.

Saudi Arabia's Omar Al Ghamdi (right) and Ukraine's Andriy Voronin, left, battle for the ball during the Saudi Arabia v. Ukraine 2006 World Cup

Andriy Voronin (left) is coming to Berlin for a year

Voronin came on a loan deal, one of 138 players to arrive at the Bundesliga's 18 clubs since last season. In many ways the deal epitomizes the transfer scene in Germany as clubs follow a prudent approach to player purchases. Spending in total is also down on the same stage last year when 194.38 million euros went on new signings.

There has been nothing to compare with the buying and selling in England where almost as much -- some 125 million euros (not including undisclosed fees) -- exchanged hands in a single last day of transfer activity on Monday.

Champions Bayern Munich have spent virtually nothing this summer, with defender Massimo Oddo joining last week from AC Milan on a loan deal, while midfielder Tim Borowski arrived earlier on a free transfer from Werder Bremen.

Having spent more than 70 million euros before last season on several big names including France midfielder Franck Ribery and Italy striker Luca Toni, Bayern's investments this summer have focused on the training set-up around new coach Juergen Klinsmann.

Hamburg , Wolfsburg spend most

The teams signing the biggest cheques this summer have been SV Hamburg and Wolfsburg, whose outlay on new players total around 28 million euros each. Hamburg were particularly active in the last week of August, signing the Brazilian midfielder Thiago Neves for what could grow into a club record fee of 9 million euros, defender Marcell Jansen from Bayern Munich for 8 million and Brazilian defender Alex Silva for 6.2 million.

Rafael van der Vaart waves with his shirt off

Rafael van der Vaart wanted to go to Spain for a while

Striker Mladen Petric (4.8 million) has also arrived in an exchange deal in which Mohamed Zidan moved to Borussia Dortmund. Hamburg have been able to invest thanks in part to the sale of Dutch midfielder Rafael van der Vaart to Real Madrid for some 15 million euros, and defender Vincent Kompany to Manchester City for 8 million.

Wolfsburg, backed by Volkswagen, have carried on where they left off last season by investing heavily as they seek to join the country's football elite. With former Bayern coach Felix Magath in a second season at the helm, Wolfsburg signed two Italian internationals in Andrea Barzagli, a 14-million-euro signing, and Cristian Zaccardo, costing 7 million, both from Palermo, as well as the Nuremberg midfielder Zvjezdan Misimovic for 4 million.

Defender Bernd Korzynietz from Arminia Bielefeld and Swiss under-21 international Marwin Hitz from St Gallen were added to the squad on Monday, following the signing Friday of Brazilian Caiuby Francisco da Silva.

"Our aim has been and remains to establish ourselves near the top of the Bundesliga and to play internationally," said Magath who has already led the team into this season's UEFA Cup.

Notable newcomers

The third biggest spenders have been Schalke 04, who with new coach, Dutchman Fred Rutten, are seeking a first German league title for 50 years. Schalke have dished out 15.5 million euros on strengthening the squad with Peru striker Jefferson Farfan (10 million from PSV Eindhoven) and Dutch midfielder Orlando Engelaar (5.5 million euros from FC Twente).

Bayer Leverkusen have meanwhile made one of the most expensive signings in Brazilian midfielder Renato Augusto, who has joined for 10 million euros from Flamengo.

Lehmann catching a ball wearing a Stuttgart jersey

Jens Lehmann is back in Germany

Other notable newcomers are Khalid Boulahrouz, who joins VfB Stuttgart for 5 million, the 2007 champions having already acquired veteran goalkeeper Jens Lehmann on a free transfer from Arsenal, and Neven Subotic, who Dortmund signed for 4 million from Mainz.

Newly-promoted Hoffenheim, who have the financial backing of billionaire Dietmar Hopp, have invested 10.7 million euros on new players.

The club, which has come up from the lower leagues and now aims to establish itself in the Bundesliga, has signed among others the Brazilian striker Wellington from Internacional Porte Alegro for 4.5 million euros.

Promoted Cologne reached a deal with Benfica in which Portugal midfielder Petit joined for nothing, with a fee only to be paid if and when he is sold on to another club.

And Werder Bremen are yet another club to go for a loan deal in acquiring Peru striker Claudio Pizarro, a former Bremen player, from Chelsea.

Among the last arrivals was the American midfielder Michael Bradley, who was signed by promoted Borussia Moenchengladbach on Monday from SC Heerenveen for 2.5 million euros.

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