Trophy chances slip away for Harry Kane as Bayern Munich face Lazio in Champions League

England captain is top scorer in Bundesliga but could end season still waiting on first major honour

Harry Kane during Bayern Munich's 3-0 Bundesliga defeat to Bayer Leverkusen at BayArena on February 10, 2024. Getty Images
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The intent was clear from the moment Harry Kane finally completed his switch from Tottenham Hotspur to German behemoths Bayern Munich last summer.

After notching 213 times in 320 Premier League games, winning the Golden boot three times along the way and becoming Spurs' all-time top scorer with 280 goals, Kane had decided to go chasing the team honours that had eluded him in North London.

“This club is defined by its winning mentality – it feels very good to be here,” said the England captain in August after moving to a club that had just secured their 11th Bundesliga title in a row.

Bayern were six-time European champions who had won the domestic league 33 times and the German Cup on 20 occasions – surely he would be lifting a trophy or two before the season's end?

But the ink had barely dried on his four-year contract and Kane was already missing out on his first piece of potential silverware as the Bavarians were thumped 3-0 by RB Liepzig in the German Super Cup.

“I'm just sorry for Harry Kane,” said manager Thomas Tuchel after his €100 million signing came off the bench with Bayern already two goals down. “It's frightening, unexplainable.”

In the Bundesliga, though, Kane was to hit the ground running; a full debut goal and assist in the win at Werder Bremen, a double on his home bow against Augsburg and his first hat-trick in the 7-0 demolition of VFL Bochum.

His 300th career club goal arrived when he scored in the 2-2 draw with fellow league leaders Bayer Leverkusen, while his second treble quickly followed – including a stunning strike from inside his own half – in the 8-0 thrashing of Darmstadt.

His goalscoring exploits were leaving everyone at the club spellbound. “He is a phenomenon,” gushed Bayern sports director Christoph Freund. “The performances are telling a story,” insisted Tuchel. “There is no need for any words.”

“I believe he can do anything,” added teammate Thomas Muller. “If he gets to shoot anywhere near or inside the box then chances are the ball will go in.”

But there was to be another blow for Kane at start of November and another trophy chance gone begging when Bayern fell to a shock German Cup defeat at third division Saarbruken.

Kane, an unused substitute against Saarbruken, would take out his frustrations on rivals Borussia Dortmund days later when he notched his third hat-trick of the campaign in a 4-0 battering.

“I expected high [standards] but not as high as he's delivered so far,” said Bayern midfielder Jamal Musiala after the win. “It's even easier to play with him than I thought.”

But Bayern's main obstacle to a 12th Bundesliga crown in a row has turned out not to be klassiker rivals Dortmund, but Xabi Alonso's slick Leverkusen outfit.

And on Sunday, the Bavarians suffered a huge blow in the title race when they were brushed aside 3-0 at BayArena – a defeat that leaves Bayern five points behind Leverkusen with 13 games to go.

“What we're missing is the guts and some freedom to play,” fumed Muller, “nobody plays freely or takes risks.”

“We didn't play well with the ball … every time we won it back, we gave it straight back to them,” a disappointed Kane told Sky Germany.

“This one hurts, we wanted a different outcome, but we have to focus on, first, the Champions League, and obviously the next game.”

The result means Kane is on track to be a member of the first Bayern team since the 2011/12 season not to win the league and could potentially mean that the Champions League represents his last chance of silverware this season.

On Wednesday, they take on Lazio in a last-16 first-leg clash in Rome with the pressure firmly on manager Tuchel whose decision to switch from a back four to a back three against Leverkusen for the first time this season backfired in disastrous fashion.

Kane's form in European football's premier club competition has been as impressive as his exploits on the domestic front.

Kane has four goals in six Champions League games, one behind tournament top scorers Manchester City striker Erling Haaland, Rasmus Hojlund of Manchester United and Atletico Madrid duo Alvaro Morata and Antoine Griezmann.

In the Bundesliga, Kane is storming away at the top of the scoring charts with 24 in just 21 matches leaving him seven goals clear of Stuttgart's Serhou Guirassy.

But another Golden Boot or hat-trick ball added to his bulging collection will be scant consolation if it means another trophyless season for England's all-time top scorer.

Updated: February 14, 2024, 11:55 AM