I’ve been struggling with how to explain the significance of German national women’s team captain Nadine Angerer joining Roar Women for W-League Season 6. How to explain it to football fans not overly familiar with women’s football, that is. Because the frisson that rippled through the women’s football community when Angerer announced on Twitter she was heading here for a season made it clear everyone was pumped. ‘She’s the ADP of the W-League’, is how fellow football writer Michael Flynn aptly summed it up.

Like Del Piero's, Angerer’s footballing accolades are too long to fully list. Suffice to say she’s won not one but two World Cups and five European Championships. She didn’t concede a single goal in the 2007 Women’s World Cup, setting the record for the most number of minutes played (some 540) without conceding. That includes saving a penalty by Brazil’s Marta, herself five times named best women’s player in the world.

Most recently, Angerer saved two penalties in the 2013 European Championship final against Norway to give Germany the win. She was just nominated for the B’allon d’Or alongside other women’s football greats Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, Christina Sinclair, and the aforementioned Marta.

What impresses me more, though, is how genuinely engaging and inspiring Angerer is on and off the pitch. She’s been training with both the Roar women and men—their philosophy is ‘one team, one goal’—and it’s clear they’ve developed a great rapport.

Michael Theo spoke effusively about Angerer’s ‘unbelievable’ handling and how motivating he found training alongside her. Waiting pitch side to interview her the other day, I witnessed Besart Berisha make a beeline to chat to her as they wrapped up training. Fellow German Thomas Broich offered her following sage European-down-under advice to ‘drink a lot before breakfast; don’t underestimate the heat.’

It’s easy to view Angerer’s career trajectory as one of steady incline, but it’s more stirring to realise she waited an eternity for her chance. ‘The #1 keeper made good performances most of the time,’ she says, ‘so there was no reason to change. I was good as well, but why should you change a goalkeeper if she’s good? And then I was sitting on the bench 10 years.’

Yep, 10 years. That could have been a career-ending span of time. ‘You have two opportunities: to give up or continue fighting,’ Angerer says of that time. ‘If you give up and feel like a victim, then you have no chance at all.’

An ACL injury—the plague of women’s football—opened the door for Angerer to play. Clearly, she shone, making the #1 spot her own.

Angerer’s already made clear is that she’s not here, as some in Germany and perhaps some in Australia thought, for a holiday (although she is reportedly an avid diver and Queensland, for now anyway, offers some world heritage reefs).

‘The Germans were a little bit smiling,’ she says. ‘They didn’t understand why I came here, but they don’t have to understand it. I think most people in Europe underestimate the league here. I take the league very seriously and I aim to win it.’

She’s arguably signed with the right team to do so, with Brisbane fielding some of the nation’s top female footballers and with the team extra hungry, having missed the grand final by the narrowest of margins in Season 5. I don’t want to jinx them and I don't need to tell you football's an unpredictable game, but they’re likely favourites to win the league, especially with Angerer between the posts.

But Angerer’s not feeling any pressure, and certainly not any to set any W-League records about the most number of minutes played without conceding a goal. ‘No. Not at all,’ she says. ‘Especially 2007. It wasn’t my goal to have no goals. If I don’t get a goal [scored against me], then I’m happy about it, but I don’t expect it.’

She’s more focused on the team, though, telling me a number of times: ‘I can’t win anything alone. You can only win if you’re good as a team.’

Her aim has been to get to know a new continent, a new language, and a new style of play, and has been humbled by the welcome she’s received. Australians, and especially her team mates, have been incredibly supportive and friendly; the football is impressively fast and physical.

Angerer said she isn’t sure what to expect from the opening match on Saturday, but that she’s looking forward to it. ‘I just know that Lori Lindsay is playing for Canberra…I think she’s a very good player. I don’t know much about the teams here, but I know my team and I think they are a good team.’

Although she knows it’s a big deal to us she’s playing in the W-League, Angerer points to the fact that other international players are here too. ‘It shows that the league is gaining more and more respect,’ she says. ‘Even the national team [the Matildas]. They are placed 8th in the world. That is very good. I think most people have this picture in their minds that it’s a surfer country, it’s a party country, and they have no idea about Australian [football]. They should come, see some games.’

They can start with Round 1 of the W-League, which kicks off today.