Eintracht Frankfurt will be desperate to give absent captain Marco Russ something to cheer when they play the second leg of their relegation playoff at Nuremberg. They are also fighting for their Bundesliga survival.
Eintracht announced thatRuss had been diagnosed with a tumor
just hours beforeThursday's first leg in Frankfurt
and after deciding to play the 30-year-old scored an own goal in a 1-1 draw.
He was also booked for a rash tackle and is suspended for the match at Nuremberg's Grundig Stadium, when the Bavarians, who qualified for the playoff by finishing third in the second division, will have the slight advantage of an away goal.
Although there are millions of euros at stake for his club, Eintracht head coach Niko Kovac has tried to play down the tie's importance, saying that the key thing is for Russ to focus on the operation he will have this week and his recovery.
Kovac, who played for several German clubs including Bayern Munich, Hamburg and Hertha Berlin, sounded upbeat ahead of Monday's clash.
Eintracht, who narrowly avoided the drop last term, have been in Germany's top flight for four seasons after spending a year in the second division in 2011-12.
"We have shown we can hold our own in tough situations and cope with pressure," Kovac told a news conference on Sunday.
"I am sure that we can win away in Nuremberg. With one goal we'll be right back in it."
In the first leg, Russ' own goal put Frankfurt behind net shortly before halftime. Mijat Gacinovic leveled midway through the second period and almost grabbed a winner 13 minutes from time but was denied by Nuremberg goalkeeper Rafael Schäfer.Second-division champions Freiburg
and second-placed RB Leipzig secured the two automatic promotion berths and will replace Stuttgart and Hannover in the top flight next term.