Play-off chance in Premier League
Wed, 15 May 2013 11:06:00
Mario Gotze is winning his battle to be fit for Borussia Dortmund's UEFA Champions League final against Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich.
Gotze, who will swap Dortmund for Bayern after the Wembley showpiece on 25 May, was forced off early in the semi-final second leg against Real Madrid with a thigh injury.
The attacking midfielder has undergone intense rehabiliation since his Bernabeu scare and manager Jurgen Klopp is confident he will be available in London.
"Right now it looks like Gotze could be ready for the final," Klopp told reporters. "His recovery is going according to plan.
"We will intensify training gradually during the week and the plan is for him to join the team training next week. Then we will see if it is good enough."
The Germany international has been an influential figure for a Dortmund side that has emerged as a force in Europe.
But he shocked fans when his transfer to Bayern was announced just hours before last month's first leg against Real Madrid.
That scenario could happen if the Gunners win 2-1 at Newcastle and Chelsea draw 0-0 at home to Everton.
That would make the clubs joint third and Arsenal and Chelsea would have to face a play-off for the automatic Champions League qualification spot.
The problem for the Premier League would be when to play such a match - Chelsea have an end-of-season tour to the USA to play friendlies against Manchester City next week, and then there are England friendlies on May 29 against the Republic of Ireland and then in Brazil on June 2.
Neither club would want the season to stretch into June but the play-off regulation is part of Premier League rules.
They state: "If at the end of the season... the question of qualification for other competitions cannot be determined because two or more clubs are equal on points, goal difference and goals scored, the clubs concerned shall play off one or more deciding league matches on neutral grounds, the format, timing and venue of which shall be determined by the board."