Cologne - While the Bundesliga's many stars continue to build up their fitness levels ahead of the new season, clubs up and down the country are working tirelessly behind the scenes to strengthen their playing staff in time for the big kick-off in mid August.

Over the next few weeks, bundesliga.com will be taking a closer look at each of the 18 top-flight clubs’ summer transfer dealings so far, moving swiftly on with Hamburger SV…

How they fared in 2014/15

As was the case at the end of 2013/14, it was another nail-biting finale to the campaign for Hamburg. Bruno Labbadia appeared to get a lot more out of the side than his predecessors, but it wasn’t enough to avoid the relegation play-offs for the second year running. This time the Red Shorts sailed even closer to the wind, only clinging onto their ever-present Bundesliga status thanks to an extra time win over Karlsruher SC.

Ins

Lewis Holtby (r.) (Tottenham Hotspur FC, loan made permanent)

  • Three-time Germany international with an English father
  • Made 25 appearances whilst on loan at HSV last season, chipping in with two assists
What he offers: Skilful versatile midfielder with plenty of Bundesliga experience

Gotoku Sakai (VfB Stuttgart)

  • New York-born Japan international
  • Turned out 87 times in the Bundesliga for VfB Stuttgart

What he offers: Able to play on either side of defence and still only 24

Batuhan Altintas (Bursaspor)

  • Son of former Galatasaray SK defender Yusuf Altintas
  • 19-year-old forward, who has represented Turkey’s Under-15s, U-16s and U-17s

What he offers: Bags of potential, room to improve and a sweet left foot

Emir Spahic (free agent)

  • 81-time Bosnia and Herzegovina international
  • Made 49 Bundesliga appearances for former club Bayer 04 Leverkusen, scoring three goals

What he offers: Experience and an excellent reading of the game

© gettyimages

Outs

Rafael van der Vaart (r.) (Real Betis Balompie SAD)

  • Returned to Hamburg for the second time in summer 2012
  • Named HSV captain in April 2013

Heiko Westermann (released)

  • A former Germany international, who only missed the 2010 FIFA World Cup because of injury
  • Has represented four different German clubs, scoring 26 goals in 318 Bundesliga appearances

Marcell Jansen (retired)

  • A left-sided specialist capable of playing at left-back or further upfield
  • Cited his "strong emotional connections to Hamburg" as the main reason why he didn’t want to find another club after being released by HSV, aged 29

Maximilian Beister (released)

  • Joined 1. FSV Mainz 05 on a three-year deal after his contract at HSV expired at the end of 2014/15
  • Struggled with injury since turning professional in 2009, making just 46 Bundesliga appearances

© imago

To-do list...

With a handful of stalwarts moving on, Labbadia has the chance to put his own stamp on the side. The 49-year-old has largely recruited like-for-like replacements in a positional sense, but it remains to be seen which member(s) of the current squad can assume the role of team leader. Hamburg’s lack of goals last term - a league-low 25 - was also a major bugbear, so a new striker has to be high on their list of priorities.

Editor's note: Not all summer transfers will be discussed here. The players featured in this article made at least ten league appearances for their respective clubs last season, chipped in with numerous goals and assists or made other significant contributions to their team. For an overview of the 2015/16 summer transfers, click here.