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Norbert Nigbur (born May 8, 1948  in  Gelsenkirchenmarker, Germanymarker) is a former German international football player.


The goalkeeper joined Gelsenkirchenmarker's biggest club, FC Schalke 04, from tiny SV Gelsenkirchen 06 in 1966, playing 456 matches in the Bundesliga for Schalke and Hertha BSC in between 1966 and 1983, being the first first-team player from Schalke joining the club from Berlin after the Bundesligaskandal in 1970-1971. His biggest success on club level was the German Cup trophy with hometown side Schalke 04 in 1972. In the 1980s and after the end of his last Schalke contract, Nigbur had spells with VfB Hüls, Rot-Weiss Essen and FC Luthenberg outside the top two German divisions.

Nigbur's debut for West Germany happened in the wake of the 1974 FIFA World Cup with Helmut Schön testing potential backup goalkeepers to top choice Sepp Maier. Nigbur debuted in a friendly defeat against Spain in February 1974 and was, besides Wolfgang Kleff, then one of two backup goalies for Sepp Maier. He didn't get any game in the weeks of the World Cup and it remained his only participation in a bigger tournament for the West Germans. In total he won 6 caps for his nation, in his final one (in 1980 against Austria) he was replaced at half-time by Harald Schumacher in what became Schumacher's second of 76 internationals for West Germany.

Nigbur continued to perform very well in the Bundesliga, though he could not dislodge Sepp Maier. Maier, however was involved in a serious car accident during the summer of 1979, shortly before the Bundesliga season and was forced into premature retirement. Jupp Derwall, the DFB coach at the time had decisions to make, he had the options of Nigbur or also Dieter Burdenski from Werder Bremen and Harald Schumacher from Köln. He opted for Nigbur whose impressive displays in the Bundesliga for Schalke were earning rave reviews.

Maier, in his retirement, stated publicly in a well-known sports-paper that he believed Burdenski should be the number one ahead of Nigbur. After a patient wait of six years, Nigbur finally had his chance. However, in April 1980, weeks before the European Championships, Nigbur suffered a terrible injury which required immediate surgery. He was dining with his fiancee and at the end of the meal was unable to stand up, having suffered a torn meniscus (cartilage) and his knee had locked. This was a terrible blow for Nigbur and was the end of his season; Harald Schumacher took over in goal for the Euro championships (which West Germany won) and never looked back.

Nigbur, on his return from injury struggled in vain to help Schalke avoid relegation the following season. His performances, however, did not diminish in quality and in that season he helped Schalke to a surprise 2-0 win away to 1.FC Köln. In the opposite goal, Harald Schumacher was impressed with Nigbur's performance, he commented: "Norbert was world-class today".


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