The Bundesliga returns to action this weekend following the traditional winter break. A number of clubs have taken the opportunity that the January transfer window offers to strengthen their squads. Here are the signings we believe will have a big impact on the second half of the season:
Timo Hildebrand (1899 Hoffenheim)
One of the first signings to be announced following the end of Round 17 was that of Timo Hildebrand, who moved to table toppers Hoffenheim. The former Stuttgart keeper had a nightmare spell in Spain with Valencia and jumped at the chance to return to the Bundesliga, where he will hope to regain his reputation as one of the best German goalkeepers and break back into the national squad as it bids for the 2010 World Cup.
Interestingly enough it was under Hoffenheim trainer Ralf Rangnick that the now 29-year-old made his Bundesliga debut back in November 1999 while with Stuttgart.
Landon Donovan (Bayern Munich)
Landon Donovan has become the first American to play for Bayern Munich and, although his move from LA Galaxy is only a loan, the 26-year-old could be poised to make quite an impact at the Allianz Arena. He certainly has the quality to mix it with the best in the Bundesliga and has a little experience of Germany having had a previous spell at Bayer Leverkusen.
He hit 20 goals in 25 games for Galaxy last season and has already been hitting the back of the net for Bayern in warm-up matches. He almost made a dream debut for the Bavarians in the DFB Pokal against Stuttgart when he nearly scored seconds after coming on as a substitute.
Alexandros Tziolis (Werder Bremen)
Werder Bremen fans have already had a good look at what 23-year-old Alexandros Tziolis can do this season. The Greek international played against Werder in the Champions League for Panathinaikos back in November and scored in a 3-0 win. It is believed Werder could make the move a permanent one in the summer should he impress enough in the second half of the Bundesliga campaign.
Timo Gebhardt (VfB Stuttgart)
Stuttgart have snapped up a real potential star of the future in Timo Gebhart. The Swabians have signed the 19-year-old from 1860 Munich.
Gebhardt was a key member of the German under-19 team that triumphed at the European Championships last summer. He joined the Loewen as a 15-year-old and has worked his way through the ranks, so it is considered a big blow to 1860 that he chose to leave.
Kevin Prince Boateng (Borussia Dortmund)
In a similar story to that of Timo Hildebrand at Hoffenheim, Kevin-Prince Boateng has been given a second chance in the Bundesliga following a disappointing spell abroad. The former Hertha Berlin starlet never convinced either Juande Ramos or Harry Redknapp of his ability and rarely featured in the Tottenham first team during his spell at White Hart Lane.
Now at Dortmund the 21-year-old will be hoping to get his career back on track and confirm his reputation as one of the more skilful midfielders in the Bundesliga.
Giovanni Federico (Karlsruhe)
The prodigal son has returned and is an example of the old adage that ‘the grass is not always greener on the other side’. Federico left Karlsruhe in 2007 having hit 19 goals during their promotion run from the Second Division. His exploits for KSC saw Dortmund snap him upon a free transfer, but he has failed to make the breakthrough at BVB and been allowed to move on loan to his former club.
Trainer Edmund Becker needs him to start finding his 2006/07 form with the Baden club, who are currently struggling down near the foot of top flight.
Thomas Galasek (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
Gladbach are in a real relegation scrap at the moment and have turned to the wily Hans Meyer to get them out of a sticky situation. Meyer has now in turn turned to a player he knows from his time at Nuremberg in order to add some steel to the Fohlen midfield.
Ex-Czech international Thomas Galasek has been brought back to Germany from Banik Ostrau and Borussia will be hoping he has more success than he did in his last relegation battle when Nürnberg went down. He is however vastly experienced with 69 caps and over 400 league games under his belt.
Diego Klimowicz (VfL Bochum)
Argentine Diego Klimowicz was never able to rediscover the form and goals he showed at Wolfsburg during his time at Borussia Dortmund, but did earn a reputation as a ‘super-sub’ for BVB.
Now at Bochum, the 34-year-old, who has 68 Bundesliga goals to his name, will be looking to help push Marcel Koller’s side clear of the relegation zone.
Mathew Burt, Goal.com