Even though Manchester United won't be involved, my guess is that most of you still have an interest in (and presumably will be watching) Saturday's UEFA Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. As anticipated, there is no shortage of coverage for club football's biggest annual match. I'm going to link some of the more interesting and informative pieces I've been reading throughout the week and I'll try to periodically update the list as more good material gets published as kick-off nears at Wembley.
This will also function as an open thread for the final: it will be available prior to kick-off, during the match, and afterwards in case you have the desire to discuss all of the happenings. In addition, feel free to link anything that you come across for the final that you feel is worth sharing. Enjoy the match everyone, it should be an intriguing one!
* Jürgen Klopp rallies neutrals to support 'special' Borussia Dortmund | Guardian | By Donald McRae -- If you read only one of these links, I highly recommend this interview of Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp. I can almost guarantee you'll be amused. He also waxes lyrical on Shinji Kagawa.
* 'How Germany went from bust to boom on the talent production line' | Guardian | By Stuart James -- This is a wonderful in-depth description on how Germany overhauled their youth development system about a decade ago. It's obviously produced a plethora of incredibly talented young German footballers in recent years.
* 'Mario Götze's move from Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich adds spice' | Guardian | By Marcus Christenson -- Dortmund influential playmaker, Mario Gotze, has been a story because it's already been arranged for him to join Bayern next season. Here's a look at that storyline. Keep in mind, though, Gotze is injured and he's been ruled out for the final.
* 'Gotze-less: Examining Borussia Dortmund's Tactical Conundrums' | Bavarian Football Works | By Ryan Cowper -- SB Nation's Bayern home discusses how Dortmund might cope with Gotze's absence.
* 'Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich: Matching formations? Not necessarily' | SB Nation | By Tim Palmer -- Will Dortmund move away from their 4-2-3-1 shape because of Gotze's injury?
* 'Mario Götze to miss Champions League final and how Dortmund can compensate' | Bundesliga Fanatic | By Christian Nyari -- This wonderful Bundesliga coverage site also examines Klopp's possibilities with Gotze out. Does Ilkay Gundogan push higher into the No.10 with either Nuri Sahin or Sebastian Kehl joining Sven Bender in the double-pivot? Or does Marco Reus slide into the No.10 role with Kevin Grosskreutz coming in on the left side of attack?
* 'Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich: The impact of Mario Götze's absense' | SB Nation | By Tim Palmer -- In another tactical installment for SB Nation, Tim further discusses Gotze's absence. Will it be Reus in the No.10 role with Grosskreutz on the left?
* 'Dortmund's Subotic to make U.S. history in Champions League final' | Sports Illustrated | By Grant Wahl -- This is perhaps an interesting angle for Americans: Subotic will be the first American citizen ever to play in a European Cup final. Too bad, though (for Americans), he decided to pledge his allegiance to Serbia for international football.
* 'Lewandowski's rise takes him to CL final, against his next club?' | Sports Illustrated | By Raphael Honigstein -- A profile of Robert Lewandowski's recent rise to being one of world football's elite No.9's. Is he, though, also on his way out next season to Bayern... or to Old Trafford?
* 'Robben can put past failures to bed with Champions League triumph' | Sports Illustrated | By Raphael Honigstein -- Arjen Robben has been doing a lot of losing in major finals these past few years.
* 'Football Weekly Extra' podcast | Guardian -- The opening segment of this podcast discusses the CL final. Honigstein is in studio with James Richardson and Barry Glendenning.
* 'Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund - Recent meetings analysed' | Free Bets | By Michael Cox -- The CL final will be the 10th meeting between the two clubs in the past three seasons. Cox briefly recaps each of the nine meetings that have happened and he offers up a lesson learned from each.
* 'Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund: Tactical analysis' | Guardian | By Michael Cox -- Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez are really, really good.
* 'The Dossier: Stop Martinez, stop Bayern' | Goal.com | By Jonathan Wilson -- Another tactical preview, this time from the always great Jonathan Wilson. He discusses the impact of Gotze's absence and the influence of Javi Martinez.
* 'Can Dortmund spoil Bayern's season?' | ESPN Soccernet | By Miguel Delaney -- On the bad blood between Dortmund and Bayern.