Borussia Dortmund couldn't be pitted against a more determined squad in this May's UEFA Champions League final at Wembley, and that's why banged-up midfielder Mario Gotze must be recovered and in top form three weeks from now if the Black and Yellows hope to lift the European Cup for the first time since 1997.
Bayern Munich is not only a German juggernaut, but also an inspired one, having dropped two of the past three UEFA Champions League finals.
Last year's loss to Chelsea in Munich in penalty kicks was particularly heartbreaking, setting up a return trip that few, if any, can see Bayern squandering.
But the challenging task has gotten that much more difficult for Jurgen Klopp and Dortmund.
According to Bundesliga.com, "Mario Gotze may well have played his last game for Borussia Dortmund after tearing muscles in his thigh during Tuesday night’s dramatic UEFA Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid."
The 20-year-old Gotze leads Dortmund with five assists in UCL play this season and has netted two goals for the club in 11 UCL starts.
Gotze, who will make the jump from Dortmund to Bayern Munich this summer, came off just minutes into Dortmund's semifinal tilt with Real Madrid on Tuesday, but played the entire 90-plus minutes in the crucial first leg with Real, assisting on one of Robert Lewandowski's goals.
If Gotze is unable to play big minutes in the final against Bayern, an already-overmatched Dortmund side will struggle to mount a comparable attack.
Sure, Lewandowski has performed like a world-class striker to this point for Dortmund. But without Gotze in midfield to create opportunities for the Polish forward, he'll be at a significant disadvantage, especially with Bayern boasting so much firepower of its own, led by Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben.
It's not all about scoring goals or assisting on others. Gotze is a supreme talent with the ball on either foot. His control and vision in midfield are often what make Dortmund go, and if Klopp's squad is without Gotze's technical skills in the final, it won't stand much of a chance of beating a team as explosive and inspired as Bayern Munich.
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