Soccer finals highlight busy sports weekend

With the way the sports calendar is lined up, the final weekend of May proves to be one of the most eventful and exciting over the course of the entire year.
Locally, the Emo Walleye Classic will be held this Friday and Saturday in what is the official kick-off for many anglers in a busy summer of fishing tournaments throughout the region.
On the national stage, the top team in all of major junior hockey will be determined Sunday night as the 2013 Memorial Cup winner will be crowned in Saskatoon.
And with it being Memorial Day weekend south of the border, the Indianapolis 500 is only a few days away as the biggest race on the Indy Car calendar is set to go Sunday.
However, on the international stage, the two biggest events of the weekend will occur in London, England as historic Wembley Stadium will host two of the biggest soccer matches of the entire season in a 48-hour span.
First up will be the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday, where two of the top clubs in Germany will battle it out to determine the top team in all of European club soccer.
On one side is Bayern Munich, which possesses one of the most talented squads in recent memory and has dominated all comers this season. And on the other is their rivals in Borussia Dortmund, which has made a surprising run just to get this point.
Having demolished long-time European kingpins Barcelona in the semi-finals, many already have anointed Bayern Munich as the new top dogs in the sport, although they have fallen short on the big stage before.
Meanwhile, although Borussia Dortmund had won the last two Bundesliga titles prior to this season, their success in this year’s Champions League was considered to be a surprise by many, especially after they took care of Spain’s Real Madrid in the semi-finals.
Out of the bevy of storylines in that match, one of the most intriguing is the fact that Dortmund’s highly-talented, 20-year-old attacking midfielder Mario Gotze will be leaving the team following Saturday’s contest to join Bayern Munich in a highly-publicized, 37-million pound transfer deal.
Then two days later, Wembley again will host a massive soccer match during the Bank Holiday as two teams from the League Championship will battle it out to gain entry into the English Premier League for the 2013/14 season.
Although the match-up between Watford and Crystal Palace won’t get the pulse of a casual soccer observer racing like the Champions League final will, Monday’s encounter is a massive one for whoever comes up as they stand to make anywhere between $60 million-$80 million by gaining entry into the biggest domestic soccer league in the world.
Unlike North American sports, where the worst teams in the league are given a high draft pick each, the bottom three teams in the Premier League are relegated at the end of each season while the top two teams in the League Championship and the winner of a playoff between the third- to sixth-place squads in the standings are promoted.
While it’s early to say whether the winner of Monday’s clash, along with fellow-promoted teams Cardiff City and Hull City, will be able to survive against teams like Manchester United and Arsenal over the course of a season, many teams have proven in recent years that you can avoid relegation in your first year back in the top tier of English football.