Whether it's cleaning house or bringing in new recruits, all 18 of Germany's top flight clubs are wheeling and dealing. So how's your team doing? DW took a look after ten days of the transfer period.
The league leaders have spent 2016 thinning out their squad. Jan Kirchhoff and Sinan Kurt were allowed to leave, while Gianluca Gaudino was loaned out to Swiss side St. Gallen for development. With the wealth of talent at their disposal, the Bavarians have no room for those who don't meet the absolute top standards. Given their injury problems, however, Bayern might want to bring in a veteran utility player as insurance, especially as they'll almost surely be playing in three competitions into the spring.
Coach Thomas Tuchel had hinted - none too subtly - that he'd like a reinforcement or two this winter, but thus far, Dortmund's biggest move had been to sell youngster Jonas Hofmann to Mönchengladbach for eight to ten million euros. That gives them some spending money, but who will they target? They also need to resolve the situation of out-of-favor defender Neven Subotic, a key ingredient of their recent title-winning seasons.
The Bundesliga's surprise third-place team is pretty well set at all positions, but they pulled off a nifty bit of business for the future in signing Kurt from Bayern for a mere 600,000 euros. Hertha's main priority will be to get shot of big-salaried playmaker Ronny, whose fitness isn't up to top-flight demands and who wasn't invited to the team's winter training camp.
The Foals signed Hofmann as a replacement for André Hahn, who's out long term with a knee injury, and they also loaned out Austrian national defender from RB Salzburg. Gladbach expect immediate returns from them. But can a pair of 23 year olds give hot-and-cold Gladbach what they need most to return to the Champions League, stability?
There has been little news coming out of Leverkusen, which could be an indication that commercial manager Rudi Völler is trusting in his underachieving squad to find their form. Leverkusen would love to find an alternative to playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu, who had a terrible first half of the season, but that's going to be difficult in the winter.
Schalke also disappointed in the latter half of 2015, and the Royal Blues have been taking steps to address their glaring weakness, lack of firepower. Their strategy has been to bolster their attacking midfield by buying 21-year-old Alessandro Schöpf, who's been fantastic for second-division Nuremberg, and loaning out Younes Belhanda from French side Montpellier. At the back, they have to decide whether to cash in on defender Joel Matip, who can walk for free at season's end. Expect more action in Gelsenkirchen.
Everything that's true of Leverkusen goes double for Wolfsburg. The Wolves are the disappointment of the Bundesliga thus far, but sports director Klaus Allofs will trust that the team is still adjusting to the loss of Kevin de Bruyne. He doesn't have much choice. Big new signing Julian Draxler has to be given a chance to settle in, and in the wake of the emissions scandal, main sponsor Volkswagen isn't likely to loosen the purse strings.
Mainz compensated well for the departures of Shinji Okazaki and Johannes Geis over the summer and sit comfortably in the top half of the table. Other than bringing in young Austrian striker Karim Onisiwo, the Carnival Club hasn't done much, probably doesn't need to and likely won't.
The Billy Goats are also comfortably mid-table. To get better, they'd need to improve their attack, which is joint fifth-worst in Germany. So what have Cologne done on the market thus far? You guessed it: signed defender Filip Mladenovich to compete with one of the most reliable fullbacks in the league, Jonas Hector. Chew over that move and see if you understand it.
The latter half of 2015 saw a major improvement for Hamburg after two near relegations, so the bosses will be forgiven for not wanting to disrupt the nascent chemistry that's been building. On the other hand, those who stand still fall behind. Hamburg could use a reliable alternative to Pierre-Michel Lasogga up front and some depth at the back, but their tight finances leave little room to maneuver.
Ingolstadt have a top-flight defense paired with what often looks like a third-division attack. With only eleven goals scored, the newly promoted club has by and away the worst attack in the Bundesliga. The question is: what player could the Southern Germans realistically target to improve the situation? If they can't identify that man, they'll have to try to defend their way to survival.
Augsburg got off to a rough start as they had to get used to playing internationally. But they found their feet as 2015 wore on, and the bosses have already succeeded in strengthening the squad in 2016, bringing in Jeffrey Gouweleeuw from Alkmaar for the back line as well as attacking prospect Albian Ajeti from Basel. They should be well poised for first-division football next season, although a return to Europe is probably a stretch.
Darmstadt's collection of also-rans and castaways surpassed all expectations in the first season half, and it would almost be a shame not to give them the chance to get the job of first-division survival done. The Lillies may have no other choice. Improvements could be made everywhere in the squad, but the league's smallest club don't have the means to fund any major upgrades.
The Eagles have been another of the Bundesliga's disappointments, and they wasted no time with the wheeling and dealing, securing the services of Mexican national Marco Fabian and veteran playmaker Szabolcs Huszti before the transfer window even officially opened. They also loaned out Schalke defensive talent Kaan Ayhan until the end of the season. It's hard to see that trio propelling Frankfurt into Europe, but Eintracht seem to be thinking survival first, and the extra depth should help.
In terms of name recognition and intrigue, Stuttgart made the biggest signing of the first ten days of the transfer period, when they inked former Mr. Dortmund Kevin Grosskreutz. Together with Artem Kravets, on loan from Dinamo Kiev, he'll give the southern Germans some offensive flexibility. Stuttgart seem to banking on the league's worst defense improving on its own with the team no longer required to play the hara-kiri style of ex-coach Alexander Zorniger. That could be a risky assumption.
Bremen have the league's second-worst defense, which is nothing new, but they no longer score enough goals to compensate. They could use reinforcements all over the pitch, but the cash-strapped club has yet to make a move on the market. Commercial manager Thomas Eichin probably needs to start pulling some rabbits from some hats, if Werder are to survive in the top flight.
If Hannover go down, it won't be for lack of trying transfer-wise. The new year wasn't even a week old when the 96ers shipped out miscast striker Mevlüt Erdinc, a summer acquisition, and brought in Adam Szalai from Hoffenheim. But that begs the question: why would last-placed Hoffenheim give their closest rivals in the relegation fight a helping hand? Without more creativity and ruthlessness in attack, Hannover are likely doomed.
See above. Hoffenheim obvious consider Szalai, whose has a history of serious injuries, hopelessly damaged goods. Otherwise, there's no explaining the deal with Hanover. What's also difficult to explain is why a club that's not hurting for cash let the first ten days of the transfer period pass without activity. There's talent in the Hoffenheim squad, but standing pat this January would be courting disaster.