Eintracht recover from Russ own goal to draw with Nuremberg
Eintracht Frankfurt fought back from captain Marco Russ's own goal to rescue a 1-1 draw at home to Nuremberg with a Mijat Gacinovic strike in their Bundesliga relegation/promotion playoff first leg on Thursday.
Russ, diagnosed with a tumour on Wednesday after initially failing a routine doping test but who insisted on playing, slid in to send a deep cross into his own net and hand Nuremberg the lead two minutes before halftime.
With Russ and top scorer Alex Meier, back from injury, in the starting lineup, Frankfurt, who lost their final league game against Werder Bremen to end up 16th, were the better side.
Their superiority told after the break with Gacinovic dribbling past two defenders and firing home a deserved equaliser in the 65th minute.
Despite keeping toothless Nuremberg, who finished third in the second division, under control, Frankfurt failed to score again leaving next week's return leg wide open.
Russ, who will have surgery next week, received the support of the home fans after the final whistle, coming back onto the pitch with his children to show his appreciation.
Germany's anti-doping agency (NADA) suspected the high levels of growth hormone HCG found in Russ's sample were due to illness rather than the use of performance-enhancing drugs and tests by the club revealed they were due to a tumour.
Russ, 30, is a Frankfurt youth product, having been at the club for almost his entire career apart from a two-year spell at VfL Wolfsburg between 2011-13.