Nadine Angerer
© AFP

Nadine Angerer already knew how it felt to play a pivotal individual role in a major international triumph. Back in 2007 the keeper with nerves of steel was Germany’s undisputed hero in the Final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in China as she produced a scintillating display against Brazil and saved a Marta penalty. The Germans won 2–0 to seal a second straight Women’s World Cup success, not least due to Angerer conceding no goals at all in her country’s six matches at the finals.

The Franconia native rates as one of the biggest personalities in German women’s football. Her ability to rise above herself at critical moments in matches is now the stuff of legend. A naturally open, communicative and down-to-earth individual she is valued highly and affectionately by her team-mates and the football watching public. Angerer is an extrovert, witty and emotionally-charged by turns. She combines all the attributes a goalkeeper requires if she is to lead, inspire and motivate a top-level team.

Until relatively recently a significant career on the world footballing stage seemed unlikely for the player nicknamed Natze. She made her Germany debut in August 1996 in a 3-0 friendly victory away to the Netherlands but spent the next decade as an understudy in the shadow of all-time great Silke Rottenberg. Angerer was a squad member and therefore a medal winner at the 2003 Women’s World Cup and the 1997, 2001 and 2005 UEFA Women’s EURO, but did not actually play a single minute at all four tournaments. As it turned out that all changed when the world-class Rottenberg sustained a torn cruciate ligament in January 2007.

Angerer never looked back and is now an icon of the women’s game. She made her 125th international appearance in September 2013 and took over from the legendary Birgit Prinz as Germany’s longest-serving player: she is the only individual to represent her country for more than 17 years. At club level Natze has played for Bayern Munich, Turbine Potsdam, FFC Frankfurt, Swedish giants Djurgarden and Brisbane Roar in Australia. The keeper is moving to the North American professional league for the 2014 season.