Planning a relaxing Memorial Day weekend? Looking forward to unwinding on the couch and catching a full menu of sports? Well how about an exhilarating soccer tripleheader to keep you company this Saturday?
At 4 p.m. PT the Portland Timbers face D.C. United in our nation’s capital. At 7 p.m. PT the Portland Thorns FC take on rival Seattle Reign FC in Tukwila, WA. But before all of the excitement begins for the Portland sides, there is one game that the soccer community will surely be tuned in for: the UEFA Champions League Final.
Saturday’s final marks the end of the 58th Champions League season, a tournament with some very intriguing storylines. The final will be contested between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund; marking the first time the Champions League has seen an all-German final. Chelsea became the first defending champions to be eliminated during group stage. Dortmund's Mario Götze has been purchased by Bayern and will play for them next season. He is injured for the final and will not play for Dortmund. Perhaps the most intriguing story, however, will be the David vs. Goliath tone to the final matchup.
Bayern Munich, a perennial Bundesliga powerhouse, will be making their tenth Champions League final appearance, winning in 1974, 1975, 1976, and 2001. This will be Borussia Dortmund’s second final, having won in 1997.
Bayern may be the single most loved and hated German club at the same time. The team spends a hefty sum on acquiring the top talent in order to remain atop the table year in and year out. Dortmund, on the other hand, almost went bankrupt in 2005. They saved themselves by reallocating all of their resources to youth development and scouting, much to the pleasure of their fanatical support base.
The two German clubs will faceoff at Wembley Stadium tomorrow at 11 a.m. PT on FOX. You can also hit up the KICKTV Google Hangout over at www.kicktv.com. As a little bonus, here’s some of Dortmund’s tifo from earlier in the tournament:
In his latest Throw-in column for MLSsoccer.com, Jonah Freedman opines on how a precedent can set up a team's expectations. Whether it's the Cascadia Cup, Brimstone Cup, Trillium Cup, MLS Cup, U.S. Open Cup or more, Freedman posits that no matter the silverware, these trophies matter. They can help define, or at the very least, begin to define the direction a team aims to take. Given how close the Timbers are to winning this year's Cascadia Cup in what has been a difficult season, Freedman asks,
So what are fans supposed to make of these trophies? For Portland, it’s a sign of progress, a symbol of success upon which they can hang their hats in their second MLS season. It is perhaps a springboard to future glory, when a young team with a young coach can do great things as they evolve.