Eintracht’s Russ nets own-goal after tumour diagnosis

Berlin (AFP) – Eintracht Frankfurt’s Marco Russ capped a traumatic 24 hours by scoring an own-goal in Thursday’s 1-1 Bundesliga play-off, first-leg draw against Nuremberg, a day after discovering he has a tumour.

The 30-year-old centre-back only found out he had a tumour on Wednesday after abnormal levels of the pregnancy hormone HCG showed up in a routine drugs test.

The location of the growth has not been disclosed.

Having seen a urology expert, Russ, Eintracht’s captain, was diagnosed with a “severe tumour”, but still insisted on captaining his club in their relegation play-off against second-division Nuremberg.

Despite Frankfurt dominating the game, Russ gave Nuremberg the lead at the Commerzbank Arena when he turned the ball into his own net just before the half-time break.

Eintracht levelled through Serbian midfielder Mijat Gacinovic early in the second-half.

With a place in Germany’s top flight at stake, Russ is now suspended for the return leg in Nuremberg on Monday having picked up a second-half booking, his 10th of the season.

With Eintracht facing the prospect of relegation, Russ’ diagnosis has over-shadowed their problems on the pitch.

“It’s been a shock for all of us. This shows that health is everything in life,” said Frankfurt forward Alexander Meier.

Frankfurt coach Niko Kovac praised Russ for insisting on playing in the tense match at Eintracht’s sold-out 51,500-capacity stadium.

“Marco is a stable boy. We were surprised at how he coped with it. He immediately said that he wants to play,” said Kovac.

Russ came up through the Eintracht youth academy and has spent his entire career with Frankfurt apart from a season and a half with VfL Wolfsburg between July 2011 and January 2013.

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