BERLIN (AP) — Eintracht Frankfurt defender Marco Russ made his return to soccer after cancer treatment on Tuesday as his side reached the German Cup semifinals, while Borussia Dortmund's quarterfinal was called off due to heavy snowfall.
Russ, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer after a tumor was found last May, came on in injury time to help Frankfurt hold on to edge second-division Arminia Bielefeld 1-0 at home.
Dortmund's game at third-tier Sportfreunde Lotte was postponed with no new date immediately announced. The pitch at the 10,000-capacity stadium was already in a bad condition from heavy rainfall–Lotte's league game against Chemnitzer FC had been called off at the weekend–and referee Felix Brych felt he had no option.
"The pitch is totally soaked. There was a lot of rain in the night and the heavy snow-shower before the game on top of it. Both teams accepted the decision," Brych said.
Danny Blum's early strike was enough for Frankfurt to reach its first semifinal for 10 years, though all the talk afterward was of Russ, who ensured the game ended on a high note when he came on to a huge reception from the home fans.
"It was a very emotional moment for me," said Russ, who was hugged by his tearful wife and grabbed around the leg by his little daughter on the pitch after the game. "It was a long time, a hard time," the 31-year-old said of his 285-day absence.
Frankfurt pledged its support throughout his illness, extending his contract by two years while he was undergoing treatment.
"I knew Arminia would throw everything forward so I needed a good header of the ball. That's why I brought Marco Russ on. An emotional evening for us all," Frankfurt coach Niko Kovac said.
It took until midway through the first half for Bielefeld to get into the game with the home side dominating possession.
Michael Hector missed the chance to head into an unguarded net for Frankfurt, 10 minutes before the break, and Frankfurt 'keeper Lukas Hradecky was by far the busier of the two after it, with his saves effectively securing his side's progress.
"Of course I'm happy to reach the semifinals, thanks too to an outstanding goalkeeping performance," Kovac said.
Soccer in Snow
Nothing says soccer in snow more than the famed orange ball.
Atlanta United's Greg Garza goes sliding into some snow trying to tackle Minnesota United's Collen Warner in brutal conditions at TCF Bank Stadium in a match pitting MLS's two 2017 expansion clubs against each other.
Brave souls take to a frozen lake in swimsuits while wearing Santa hats to play soccer in Shenyang, China, in December 2016.
Jermaine Jones dons his "snow-fro" in the USA's World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica in March 2013 at Colorado's Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Fans at Dick's Sporting Goods Park get set for the March 2013 SnowClasico World Cup qualifier between USA and Costa Rica.
USA's Geoff Cameron in the SnowClasico World Cup qualifier vs. Costa Rica in March 2013 at Colorado's Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
USA vs. Costa in the famed World Cup qualifier SnowClasico at Colorado's Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Bundesliga clubs Hoffenheim and Hertha Berlin battle in November 2015.
A goalkeeper looks to plant on some snow-less ground in Metz's Ligue 1 game vs. Nice in January 2015.
French clubs Metz and Nice in January 2015.
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim in Germany, February 2015
Rangers vs. Livingston in Scotland, January 2016.
Groundsmen clear the field in Istanbul at the Champions League match between Galatasaray and Juventus.
Galatasaray's Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder celebrate in the Champions League clash vs. Juventus in the snow in Istanbul in December 2013.
The yellow balls are out at a January 2015 training session at Liverpool.
Neither snow nor altitude stopped these players in the Alps in Verbier, Switzerland in 2008.
Preseason action in the snow between FC Vestsjalland and FC Roskilde at Slagelse Stadion on January 24, 2015 in Slagelse, Denmark.
No question which team this snowman roots for, built at Bayern Munich training in January 2015.
Groundsmen attempt to clear the Red Bull Arena field, but they couldn't do enough to keep the 2012 Eastern Conference semifinal clash between D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls from being postponed.
Wolverhampton vs. Fulham in an FA Cup third-round replay in 2015.
Wolverhampton goalkeeper Carl Ikeme can't stand the elements in an FA Cup replay against Fulham in January 2015.
Former USA and Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel warms up before a Europa League game in Norway in November 2013.
USA's Steve Cherundolo tries to navigate a snowy pitch and the Poland defense in a friendly in Germany in 2006.
The German football federation said Dortmund's game will take place "as soon as possible" with a new date to be announced on Wednesday. March 14 is mooted.
Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke pushed for a new location, too.
"No offense to Lotte, but if you've seen the grass over months you must say that the grass is kaput that it won't be better in the next weeks either," Watzke said.
Hours before, Dortmund's team bus got stuck at the stadium and had to be freed by a tractor. No players were on board at the time.
Defending champion Bayern Munich hosts Schalke and Borussia Moenchengladbach visits Hamburger SV in the other quarterfinals Wednesday.