The title race is wide open, and most German clubs are in good financial shape. But team bosses are reluctant to spend. Deutsche Welle's Jefferson Chase says it's time to end the austerity and go after some big names.
Thank God for Hamburg. In what was the dullest winter transfer season of the Bosman era, the northern Germans decided to make some headlines by taking striker Ruud van Nistelrooy - and his 100,000-euro-plus-a-week salary - off Real Madrid's hands.
Now, no one knows whether Van the Man, as the Dutchman was nicknamed when he was winning all those titles with Manchester United, will be able to reproduce anywhere near that sort of form late in his career.
But by signing him, Hamburg are sending the message that the time to win is now, and that the club is not afraid to spend money to better their chances of a dream season.
Before Hamburg's coup-de-grace with Ruud, the team that made the most noise on the transfer market was Schalke. Being deep in debt, the Royal Blues couldn't afford big international names, but they have reloaded with a host of solid players to add depth and plug holes in the squad.
Felix Magath is no fool. Schalke's coach is renowned for not kowtowing to overpriced prima donnas. But he also knows that to win you have to invest. He bought in the equivalent of an entire new team in his two seasons in Wolfsburg - and took the team to an unlikely first-ever league title last year.
That only begs the question: what are the other heavyweights waiting for?
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