Frankfurt’s captain Russ targets 2017 return after cancer

Berlin (AFP) – Eintracht Frankfurt’s captain Marco Russ is hoping to get the green light from doctors on Wednesday to resume training after battling testicular cancer and hopes to play again in 2017.

The 31-year-old defender says his goal is to rejoin his Bundesliga team-mates for their winter training camp in Abu Dhabi in early January and is keeping his fingers crossed for good news on Wednesday.

“They’re going to examine my whole body, and if the doctors give me the green light, I’ll start working with our two fitness coaches again,” said Russ.

“There are sure to be setbacks.

“My goal is to join the rest of the squad for our winter training camp.

“I hope I can be ready for the second half of the season, to be an option for the coach and for Eintracht.”

Russ discovered the shock news of his disease after failing a routine drugs test following his team’s Bundesliga win against Darmstadt in April.

He had unusually high levels of the growth hormone hCG, which turned out to be as a result of cancer.

In spite of the health blow, he played in the first leg of Frankfurt’s relegation play-off against Nuremberg in May, but scored an own goal in a 1-1 draw, earning a yellow card which saw him suspended for the second leg.

His side won the return to stay in Germany’s top flight and Russ successfully underwent surgery, before beginning a course of chemotherapy. 

He signed a two-year contract extension with Frankfurt in September and hopes to be involved when Eintracht play their first league game of 2017 at RB Leipzig in late January.

On Saturday, the centre-back was given a warm reception by team-mates and Bayern Munich players after their 2-2 league draw.

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