This winter Bundesliga sides spent only a fraction of the money they did last year. But as the deadline for personnel changes closed, some teams went hunting for that special someone.
Hamburg didn't need any new arrivals to beat Bayern last week
The team most active on the transfer market, which closed on Monday, Feb. 2, was Hamburg -- and for good reason.
Having sold midfielder Nigel de Jong for a small fortune, and having even managed to flog off mega-flop Thiago Neves, the northern German side had 26 million euros ($33.3 million) in available funds.
But despite welcoming six new additions, Hamburg chose to save most of the cash. They got Danish defender Michael Gravgaard on loan and acquired midfielder Mikael Tavares from Slavia Prague for 1.5 million euros.
Shortly, before the transfer window closed, they also announced that midfielder Albert Streit was coming from Schalke on loan.
Third-placed Hamburg will hope against the odds that the new additions are sufficient for them to maintain their spot near the top of the table. But if not, the team has the money to restock in a big way over the summer.
That's a luxury other Bundesliga sides would be glad to have -- despite an off-season that saw more departures than arrivals.
Everyone must go!
Schalke couldn't get rid of Kuranyi
The winter's biggest seller was Schalke -- also not surprisingly since the Royal Blues' bloated, over-paid squad has taken the perennial Champions League participants all the way down to ninth in the table.
In addition to loaning out Streit, Schalke also divested themselves of striker Peter Loeverkrands, utility midfielder Gustavo Varela, stopper Fabian Ernst and million-euro mistake Ze Roberto.
But they failed to move one player they would probably have liked to usher out -- struggling striker Kevin Kuranyi. Kuranyi sat on the bench for Schalke's 2009 league opener, a desultory 1-nil loss to lowly Hanover.
Thinning out the squad was probably a good idea. But selling a consistent, if unspectacular starter like Ernst suggests that the bosses in Gelsenkirchen have lost faith in the team's ability to challenge for the title.
Hurrahs in Hoffenheim
Sanogo left Bremen and joined the league leaders
In probably the most significant move of the winter, league leaders Hoffenheim got striker Boubacar Sanogo on loan from Werder Bremen. And he paid immediate dividends, scoring a goal for his new club in Hoffenheim's 2-nil win over Cottbus on Saturday.
Coach Ralf Ragnick will see that as a good sign that the Ivorian can compensate for the loss of Vedad Ibisevic, the league's leading scorer, to a season-ending knee injury.
Fifth place Leverkusen were also active, picking up midfielder Toni Kroos on loan from Bayern Munich, after the teen prodigy proved unable to crack the champions' starting eleven.
But Leverkusen also said goodbye to striker Theofanis Gekas. The top Bundesliga goal scorer from 2006-07 is being loaned out Portsmouth in the English Premiership.
And he isn't the only prominent player to leave the Bundesliga entirely. Stuttgart sold off midfielder Pavel Pardo, who was instrumental in their 2006-7 league championship, to CF America in his home country Mexico.