After almost a year on the sidelines battling cancer, Eintracht Frankfurt’s Marco Russ has returned to first-team action. The midfielder came on in the last minute of his side's German Cup quarterfinal victory.
Eintracht Frankfurt are only one match away from the German Cup final following a somewhat fortuitous 1-0 quarterfinal victory over Arminia Bielefeld. But the biggest cheer of the night was reserved for a substitution in time added on.
"It was a very emotional moment for me after this long and difficult period," said Eintracht midfielder Marco Russ after making his first appearance in ten months. "I had butterflies all day, but when I was standing on the touchline waiting to come on I just started to enjoy it and the tension disappeared."
Long road back
The 31-year-old was diagnosed with testicular cancer a year ago and underwent two rounds of chemotherapy in his battle to return to full fitness. Russ returned to first-team training at the start of the year and said he told coach Niko Kovac the day before the game that he felt ready for a brief taste of action.
"Special situations require special measures," said Kovac. "I had to bring him on because we needed his ability in the air in the final minutes. We have suffered with him throughout and are simply delighted that he has returned."
After the final whistle, Russ was joined on the pitch by his tearful wife and young daughter, who joined the players' celebrations with the Frankfurt fans.