After nearly 14 years on the field, Austria’s women’s football bids adieu to the celebrated Nina Burger
As the cameras rolled, the Lower Austrian football icon waved an emotional farewell to 2,150 cheering fans at the team’s exhibition match against Sweden in Südstadt, a district of Maria Enzersdorf in Lower Austria. ÖFB president Leo Windtner handed Burger a bouquet of flowers and a signed jersey numbered 109: “Burger has become a role model for thousands of girls and women, and an icon of Austrian football,” Windtner told the crowd.
Since her debut in September 2005, Burger has scored 53 goals in 108 matches – even more than Toni Polster, all-time leading scorer in the Austrian men’s national team, with 44. Between 2007-2012, she was women’s league top scorer six times in a row, and scored Austria’s historic goal at the 2017 European Championship against Switzerland – the team’s first at a major international event.
Since 2015, Burger has been striker for German club SD Sand, where her contract is expiring. A series of small injuries, however, clinched the decision: “It feels like I’ve been injured for more than a year now,” she told Der Standard. She had hoped it would improve, but another minor injury this winter “ended it for good.”
Burger is widely admired both for sheer talent but also for incredible drive – as football was never a full-time job. While making her name as Austria’s top woman footballer, Burger has worked as a policewoman in Vienna’s 9th district. Following her resignation, she was accepted by the ÖFB as the 49th member of the Legend Club. She plans to return to the police July 1, and continue her career in football as a coach.