For the top sides, they offer an invaluable opportunity to grant a player, who might otherwise be languishing in the reserves, some priceless first-team experience. While for clubs lower down the ladder operating on smaller budgets, loan moves could prove the difference between a mid-table and bottom-three finish.
bundesliga.com rounds up the fortunes of a handful of borrowings from the 2012/13 campaign, before casting an eye over some of the latest movers in the loan market.
Nils Petersen sealed a dream move to FC Bayern from Energie Cottbus in the summer of 2011, but struggled to command a first-team place. The 24-year-old made just 12 appearances in his first season with the Bavarian giants and was sent out on loan to Werder Bremen last June. He enjoyed far more success on the banks of the Weser, as his 11 goals in 29 appearances not only proved his top-flight worth, but also earned the striker a four-year contract at the club.
FC Augsburg's wheeler dealings are a great example of how to get the most out of the loan market. Take Ja-Cheol Koo, who failed to score a single goal in 22 Bundesliga appearances for VfL Wolfsburg. During an 18-month loan spell at the SGL Arena, however, he found the net eight times in 36 outings. Compatriot Dong-Won Ji likewise benefitted from the Bavarian air in January 2013. The AFC Sunderland striker started all 17 of Augsburg's games in 2013, scoring five times to help FCA beat the drop.
For some players, a change of scenery doesn't always have the desired effect. Defender Patrick Ochs made nine starts whilst on the books at Wolfsburg during the 2011/12 campaign, winning an average of 43 per cent of his attempted challenges. The following twelve months on loan at 1899 Hoffenheim weren't much better: twelve appearances, one assist, no goals and a four per cent improvement on his numbers in the tackle.
Dropping a division has paid off for others. Still awaiting his FC Schalke 04 debut, Philipp Hofmann made the most of his time at SC Paderborn, featuring in 31 of their 34 domestic outings, ending the campaign as the club's top scorer (seven). SC Freiburg's Niclas Höfler also thrived away from the top-flight pressure, making 40 appearances for Erzgebirge Aue since 2011, while Bayer Leverkusen's Carlinhos found the net twice in 13 outings for relegated Jahn Regensburg in the second half of last season.
That brings us nicely to the forthcoming campaign. Stuttgart midfielder Raphael Holzhauser will be hoping to make a similar impact to Messrs Koo and Ji at Augsburg, 1899 Hoffenheim striker Joselu has gone in search of European football in Frankfurt, Moritz Leitner sought regular playing time with Stuttgart, while Johan Djourou has followed suit at Hamburg. As ever, mutual development is at the crux of all such deals, but as the aforementioned case studies show, loan transactions are not everyone's cup of tea.
Compiled by Christopher Mayer-Lodge