A Tumor, an Own Goal, a Doping Raid: Marco Russ Had the Worst Week Ever

A failed drug test. A cancer diagnosis. An own goal in the season's most important match. It'd definitely not coming up Milhouse for Marco Russ

by Brian Blickenstaff
20 May 2016, 10:55pm

Russ yesterday with his two kids. Credit: ARNE DEDERT, EPA

I don't know if you're the kind of person who believes in bad days or weeks, but we've all had them. You wake up one morning and spill your coffee first thing, and somehow the rest of your week is cursed. The subway breaks down. You miss a meeting. Then your dog dies or something. It's the worst.

Except it's not the worst. It's nothing. You want the worst? Talk to Marco Russ, the captain of German Bundesliga team Eintracht Frankfurt. Dude has had the week from hell.

It started with a failed drug test, which Eintracht received word of on Wednesday. In a subsequent medical evaluation, doctors discovered Russ actually had a tumor, which had caused his body to produce excess human chorionic gonadotropin, which is classed as a performance-enhancing growth hormone.

Despite his tumor diagnosis, late Wednesday, Germany's National Anti-Doping Agency searched Russ's residence and the Eintracht training facility. The following day, the agency defended its actions, saying it hadn't received any paperwork confirming Russ's medical condition until after the raids.

The team was obviously shocked. "I've known Marco twelve years," striker Alexander Meier said Wednesday. "It makes you really sad that he has to go through such a shitty thing."

That shitty thing wasn't over. The club finished third-to-last in the 2015-2016 Bundesliga, meaning it had to play a two-legged relegation/promotion playoff against the third best team in the German second division: Nuremberg. There's a lot at stake. Whoever wins plays in the Bundesliga next season.

The first match in that series took place last night, and, amazingly, Russ took the field. But in the 43rd minute, he opened the scoring by putting the ball in his own goal. Although the match eventually finished 1-1, the result is not good Russ and his teammates. Because Russ' team was at home, a 0-0 draw in the next match at Nuremberg could relegate Eintracht on the away goals rule. Russ's goal very well might have sunk his team.

After the game, Russ refused all interviews.

"If someone receives a diagnosis like that, you should leave him alone," Frankfurt's manager Niko Kovac said after the match. "I don't really understand what he's feeling, but it's definitely not good."