Just hours before Frankfurt were to face Nuremberg in their battle to stay in the Bundesliga, the club announced that Marco Russ has been diagnosed with a tumor. However, the defender declared himself fit to play.
Eintracht Frankfurt announced in a statement posted on their website late on Wednesday that Germany's National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) had notified the Bundesliga club of an abnormality in a doping test conducted on Marco Russ. The test revealed unusually high levels of the growth hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in Russ' blood.
NADA recommended that further health checks be done as a result of the high HCG values, as this can be an indication of the presence of a tumor. These were conducted on Russ shortly after the club received the news.
"Unfortunately, the findings were confirmed in blood tests carried out in the evening by a biochemical institute," the club's statement said, without revealing the nature of the tumor or its location.
The club used its Twitter feed to wish Russ a speedy recovery.
Fit to play
"Despite this tragic diagnosis the player has said he is ready to play, something that has been confirmed by the doctors," the statement added.
Frankfurt were to host Nuremberg of the second division on Thursday evening in the first leg of their relegation playoff in which the winner will earn the right to play in the Bundesliga next season.
"It will be played, it must be played, and you can expect them to go into the match in a highly concentrated frame of mind and perhaps they will play for Marco Russ," Frankfurt's outgoing chairman, Heribert Bruchhagen, told Frankfurt radio station FFH on Thursday.
The 30-year-old Russ is a product of Frankfurt's youth system and has played all of his professional career at the club, apart from two years spent at Wolfsburg.
pfd/dv (dpa, SID)