Many clubs, however, prefer not to take the risk attached to signing players in the winter - it's hard to integrate newcomers when there is no lengthy pre-season, and the hierarchy within the team has long-since been established.
Bargains to be had
Yet often enough buying new players can be a necessary step due to injuries for example, and bargains can be had. bundesliga.com takes a look at some of the positive examples from the past five years in Germany's top division.
Vedad Ibisevic made the short move from 1899 Hoffenheim to Baden-Württemberg rivals VfB Stuttgart in January 2012 and he hit the mark immediately. The Bosnia forward was firing on all cylinders when he arrived, scoring eight goals in 15 matches up to the end of his first season in Stuttgart. The then VfB coach Bruno Labbadia even went as far as saying: "Vedad refines our game." He has since been involved in a staggering 46 of the Swabians' last 105 goals, scoring 32 of them in the past two years. Only Bayer 04 Leverkusen's Stefan Kießling (47) and Robert Lewandowski (43) of Borussia Dortmund have scored more in this period.
Martin Stranzl arrived at Borussia Mönchengladbach from Spartak Moskva at the start of 2011 already being written off: The then 31-year-old was past his best and on his way out, was the general consensus. How wrong could the critics have been. Stranzl was an immediate regular, turning back the clock to play the entire second half of the season without missing a minute. The Austria defender was convinced not to retire last summer and it would not be a surprise if one of the strongest tacklers in the Bundesliga is not tempted to notch on another year, maybe with the Foals in the UEFA Champions League.
Roberto Firmino is an example that not only emergency moves are made in the winter, but also transfers with a view to the future. The Brazilian was 20 years old when he arrived in January 2011 from Figueirense FC, and the plan was for the attacking midfield prospect to develop without any pressure. However, he already made 11 appearances in his first five months for the club, scoring three times. Overall, Firmino has had a hand in 35 goals. In the last three years, only one younger player than him has been involved in more: Bayern München's Mario Götze (55).
In January 2010, SC Freiburg secured the services of Papiss Demba Cisse from FC Metz. "Papiss is a signing with potential," said the then SC sporting director Dirk Dufner. Indeed he was, with that potential exploited to the full immediately. In just 65 league appearances, the Senegalese striker became the club's all-time record Bundesliga scorer with 37 goals. Cisse didn't need mucht time to settle in either: In the second half of the 2009/10 season, six of Cisse's goals secured six points, without which the club would probably have been relegated. In the winter break of 2011/12, the forward then left for Newcastle United FC.
Ruud van Nistelrooy was certainly one of the most spectacular transfers by a Bundesliga club in recent years. He arrived at Hamburger SV from Real Madrid CF in January 2010 and scored five goals in 11 games that season. With a total of 12 goals in 36 Bundesliga appearances, the former van Nistelrooy's record was better than many can probably remember, and the former Netherlands striker also became a fan favourite with the HSV supporters.
It's hard to imagine that Dante arrived in the Bundesliga in January 2009 with a name that had most people thinking of Inferno. He soon made his own name for himself, however, becoming a cult figure, not least because of his stylish haircuts. Soon, his performances were the more frequent barber-shop tales and Borussia Mönchengladbach rose from bottom, when Dante arrive, to 15th. In the following season, the Brazilian helped the Foals finish fourth and qualify for the UEFA Champions League play-offs, before he switched to FC Bayern München, where he took the next step on the road to fame and glory and earned his first caps for Brazil.