Frankfurt's Marco Russ to feature in playoff despite tumour diagnosis
Eintracht Frankurt captain Marco Russ is set to feature in the club's relegation playoff against Nurnberg despite being diagnosed with a "severe tumour disease" after failing a drug test.
Earlier this week, Frankfurt were informed by the German FA (DFB)'s anti-doping commission that Russ, 30, failed a drug test with his blood showing elevated levels of the hormone hCG, an indicator for either the use of anabolic steroids or a cancerous disease.
Following a medical check-up on Wednesday with a urologist and additional blood tests, Russ was diagnosed with the disease.
Despite the news, the Eintracht captain, who has featured in 28 matches for the club this season, will take part in the first leg of the playoff at home to second-tier side Nurnberg on Thursday.
"Despite the tragic diagnosis, the player said he is ready to play," Frankfurt said on their official website.
GET WELL SOON!- Eintracht Frankfurt (@eintracht_eng) May 19, 2016
Marco Russ was diagnosed with a tumour disease.
We wish you all the best Marco, keep up the fight! pic.twitter.com/uKuVoa2zGs
Both Frankfurt and Nurnberg have strong records in the relegation/promotion playoff going into the tie.
Nurnberg, who finished third in the second tier behind Freiburg and RB Leipzig, have twice come out on top and did not concede a goal in either of their two playoffs, against Energie Cottbus and Augsburg, since the reintroduction of the two-legged ties for the final Bundesliga berth in the 2008-09 season.
Frankfurt twice managed to preserve their top-flight status against second-tier opposition during the 1980s, beating Duisburg in 1984 and Saarbrucken in 1989.
Frankfurt were sent to the playoffs by relegation rivals Werder Bremen on the final day of the season, but Nurnberg forward Guido Burgstaller said he did not mind who they face.
"Bremen or Stuttgart would not have changed our starting position at all," the 27-year-old said. "In any case we would have been up against a superior opponent, but we still have a chance if we bring everything to the pitch."
The second leg will be played on Monday.
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.