Borussia Dortmund will be without Mario Gotze in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich due to injury, reports ESPN. The attacking midfielder has already agreed to join the German rivals after the campaign.
Dortmund announce Mario Gotze will miss the Champions League final against Bayern Munich, the club he will join this summer, through injury.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 22, 2013
Gotze suffered a hamstring injury during the second leg of Dortmund's semifinal triumph over Real Madrid. A setback in training, as passed along by ESPN, will prevent him from playing against his future club in the championship match.
But despite resuming light training recently, a shadow has been cast over the 20-year-old's rehabilitation with news surfacing he was forced to pull out of a training session after experiencing a reoccurrence to the injury.
"Mario has felt something again in his hamstring," Dortmund general manager Michael Zorc told Bild. "That is why he stopped. We don't know how bad it is and whether he is still suffering from it."
Gotze has accounted for 12 goals and 14 assists in 39 matches across Bundesliga and Champions League play this season. The versatile playmaker's absence is a major blow to the club's chances against a Bayern side that's been downright dominant.
Skeptics will probably suggest Gotze's failure to suit up for the final has something to do with his impending move to Bayern during the summer. However, there's nothing concrete to suggest it's anything more than an injury issue.
With Gotze out, which club will win the UCL title?
The German international has been a key cog for the Borussians. Along with Robert Lewandowski, Marco Reus and Jakub Blaszczykowski, the club presumably had enough firepower to keep pace with a Bayern side that dropped seven goals over two legs against Barcelona.
Without Gotze, the path to victory becomes more complicated. It will put more pressure on Blaszczykowski to jump-start the Dortmund attack. The rising star's creativity will be sorely missed, though, especially on the counterattack.
Interestingly enough, the hamstring woes are also of interest to Bayern. They don't want Gotze to arrive to the club as damaged goods, so they are probably happy to see him out of the lineup for two reasons. It improves their chances of winning and will help him recover.
The Champions League final between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich is set for Saturday at 2:45 p.m. ET at Wembley Stadium in London.