The Belgian withdrew after one set of their semi-final clash due to injury after Federer had claimed the first 7-6 with the second tied at 1-1.
That puts world No 2 Federer into his eighth final of the Masters 1000 event having won all of the previous seven times he has got this far.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion will face long-time rival Djokovic, who won Wimbledon last month having overcome his lengthy injury struggles to rediscover his best tennis.
But as delighted as Federer will be to contest another final in Ohio, the 37-year-old admits it is disappointing not to have had to earn his spot by overcoming 11th seed Goffin.
Speaking to ATP World Tour, Federer said: “It’s a bit of an awkward feeling, especially in such a big semi-final – the later stages of a tournament, it’s not how you want to win.
“In the beginning, sometimes OK, you take them and you’re happier to have an easier day at work but not when the crowd’s packed like this and looking for an epic match.
“But that’s how it goes sometimes, you’ve got to take them and move on.”
Federer overcame Leonardo Mayer and Stan Wawrinka with two games in one day yesterday but had good rhythm.
But although his opponent had medical treatment for his elbow and shoulder injury, Goffin was forced to call it a day when leading 40-30 in the third game of the second set.
Goffin revealed to reporters about his injury: “It didn’t make sense to continue. I was serving 100 miles per hour first serve and I felt my arm and my shoulder.
“After I lost the first set, I had to serve two more sets to win the match, so it didn’t make sense to continue.
“But overall I was feeling great. I was moving well. I was feeling my forehand really well.
“So on the baseline I was feeling good. It was a different kind of serve because I was serving differently because of the speed of my ball, and it would have been tough to win.”
Federer and Djokovic have not gone head-to-head since the 2016 Australian Open semi-finals, which Djokovic edged.
Their closely-contested rivalry sees Djokovic hold a slender advantage overall, having won 23 of their 45 victories with Federer on 22 and looking to draw level with a win in Queen City.
Djokovic is looking to write history by wrapping up the ninth Masters 1000 title that has eluded him throughout his career. He would become the first player ever to win all of the events, which began in 1990.
He has a hurdle to overcome, however, having lost three Cincinnati finals to Federer previously. The Serbian has also lost twice to Andy Murray, with no-one having contested more finals without victory than him.
Federer and Djokovic are due to step out on Centre Court at the Lindner Family Tennis Center at 9pm UK time.