Marco Richter: MD5's Man of the Matchday after completing cancer comeback with goal in Hertha Berlin’s first win
A week after making his comeback following surgery to remove a testicular tumour, Marco Richter marked his victory over cancer by scoring the goal that secured Hertha Berlin their first win of the season at former club Augsburg.
The Matchday 5 encounter came less than two months after it was announced that medical checks had discovered a testicular tumour and that Richter had to undergo surgery to remove it.
“Marco will receive every imaginable support from us in this situation. We hope he can return to the fold healthy again as soon as possible,” Hertha managing director Fredi Bobic said at the time. But could he or Richter himself have imagined he’d be back in action so quickly?
The 24-year-old said back in August that there was “no time limit” on his return. But return he did just a week ago as Hertha hosted Borussia Dortmund. The forward came on to rapturous applause at the Olympiastadion 15 minutes from time.
“After a diagnosis like that, you have to clear your mind or in best case reboot,” Richter said of the news ahead of his comeback. “I had lots and lots of good support from everyone around. From the team to the very top with Fredi Bobic and Kay Bernstein and the whole family – everyone was there.”
Dortmund star Jude Bellingham labelled him a “hero” in his post-match interview. That was even more so the following game.
Watch: Bellingham calls Richer a “hero”
The former Germany U21 international got 20 minutes at the end of Hertha’s game at Augsburg – the club where Richter came through the youth academy and made his professional breakthrough.
Again, he was welcomed onto the pitch to great applause by all supporters at the WWK Arena. And there was nothing either set of supporters could do but smile in the 93rd minute when Richter tapped home.
A big goal in just a footballing sense as Hertha finally got their first three points of the season. But we’ve seen of late that there is far more to the sport than wins, defeats and goals.
Watch: Richter rounds off first Hertha win
Richter is the third Bundesliga player this year to have a tumour found. He was fortunate in that his was found early and that surgery to remove it was enough. Sebastien Haller and Timo Baumgartl, however, have had to undergo chemotherapy.
The latter has recently resumed light training with Union Berlin, while images were posted last week of Haller in the gym once again as the pair fight for the biggest wins of their lives.
“It began a couple of weeks ago with my diagnosis. Now, I am back on the pitch with a goal against my old club,” Richter told bundesliga.com after full-time. “For me personally, a huge story. I am so pleased to have been able to help the team, to have been able to finally get three points.
“My whole family were in the stadium. I was extremely happy, of course. It was very emotional but this is the way we want to continue as a team to be able to collect the necessary points.”
Watch: Richter: “It was very emotional”
Speaking later to broadcaster DAZN, he added: “I just want to play football and have fun. Obviously I’m missing a bit physically, but if I’m a sub each time and then score a goal, I’ve got nothing against that…. This was the icing on the cake.”
His coach Sandro Schwarz then summed up what we were all thinking: “Sensational, first of all, that he’s healthy and back with us in the group as a person. I think it’s extraordinary to come to terms with it mentally after such an illness.”
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