Union Berlin give Benjamin Kohler new contract after lymphoma diagnosis
Union Berlin have handed a new contract to 34-year-old midfielder Benjamin Kohler, who has recently been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma.
On Wednesday, second-tier club Union Berlin announced that Kohler has been diagnosed with a malicious tumour, and that the 34-year-old already started therapy.
"We will do all we can do help him," Union president Dirk Zingler said on the official club website on Wednesday. A day later, the club prolonged Kohler's contract by one year until 2016.
The former Bundesliga player for Eintracht Frankfurt had played in 18 of Union's 19 league games this season, and the club have now backed him to come back after fighting the disease.
"Benny is and will remain an important part of our team. His illness has come as a shock for all of us, but we are convinced that he'll wear the Union jersey again. He is a figher on and off the pitch," coach Norbert Duwel said in a statement.
Numerous clubs have also offered their support to the midfielder, with league rivals FC St. Pauli tweeting a picture of their team at their Millerntor stadium, with a "Be strong, Benny!" photoshopped into it.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter also took to Twitter, writing: "I wish Benjamin Kohlöer a lot of energy and courage in his fight against his disease."