The transfer window has closed and almost every club added strength in depth with a few fresh faces, but who did the best business? bundesliga.com breaks down the winners of the winter transfer window.
Three clubs in particular have seen their new arrivals make an immediate impact…
Relegation threatened Stuttgart have made a dream start to the second half of the season, recording two wins in as many games to lift themselves seven points clear of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in 17th. One man who has been a major contributor to the side’s success is Kevin Großkreutz (r.). The 27-year-old had his doubters following an injury-enforced spell on the sidelines and an unsuccessful stint with Galatasaray AS. However, despite not playing competitive football in the six months he spent in Istanbul, the World Cup winner has proven his ability to cover great distance in games, while his will and determination have contributed to VfB picking up maximum points against 1. FC Köln and Hamburger SV. “We simply give everything for one another,” said Großkreutz in a recent interview.
The former Borussia Dortmund fan favourite isn’t the only success story in Stuttgart. Signed on loan from Dynamo Kyiv, Artem Kravets wasted little time in putting his name on the fans' lips after scoring the winner in the 2-1 victory over HSV less than ten minutes into his debut on home soil. If Federico Barba, brought in from FC Empoli, can help add more stability to an already improved backline once he returns from injury, head coach Jürgen Kramny will have no complaints about his new recruits.
Frankfurt have picked up seven points from a possible nine in their last three games. The 2-1 win against Bremen before the winter break was followed up by an impressive 3-2 victory against VfL Wolfsburg and the 0-0 draw with FC Augsburg last weekend, giving them more breathing room above the drop zone. Alexander Meier hit the ground running with a hat-trick against the Wolves, but the 33-year-old's new team-mates have also brought plenty to the table. Former Hannover 96 winger Szabolcs Huszti (r.) has started both games in 2016 and has already put his stamp on the Eagles' attack.
Mexican international Marco Fabian has also shown glimpses of his individual quality and it was his introduction at half-time against Wolfsburg that saw Frankfurt produce a stunning comeback, with Fabian providing the assist for the winning goal. The 26-year-old made his full debut against Augsburg and always offered a threat with his willingness to beat his marker. The last-minute deal to bring in Änis Ben-Hatira, who has made 81 Bundesliga appearances during spells with Hamburger SV and Hertha Berlin, has given Armin Veh another option in midfield.
Bremen are another side that appear to have put their poor form behind them in the Rückrunde with four points from their opening two fixtures. In the 3-3 draw with Hertha Berlin, in which Werder produced a stunning comeback, on-loan Papy Djilobodji put in an exceptional performance. The Chelsea FC centre-back won 88 per cent of his challenges against the capital city side whilst enjoying 92 touches of the ball – more than any player on the pitch at the Weser Stadium. In his two appearances, the Senegalese international has come out on top in 78 per cent of his challenges, making him one of the most formidable players in the Bundesliga.
There are also high hopes for two of Bremen's rising stars, Laszlo Kleinheisler and Milos Veljkovic. The former, a Hungarian international, came off the bench for the final 30 minutes of the draw against Hertha and impressed with his contribution to Werder’s build-up play. Defensive specialist Veljkovic, who was part of Serbia’s Under-20 World Cup-winning side, could offer an alternative option in the back four or in holding midfield on against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Friday.