Harry Kane: Still trophyless but is he to blame for Bayern woes?

England striker's substitution with five minutes remaining turned Champions League semi-final second leg in Real Madrid's favour, but there are plenty of other reasons why Bayern missed out

Harry Kane's last chance of winning a trophy this season at Bayern Munich was dashed by Real Madrid on Wednesday. Getty
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Spare a thought for Harry Kane this morning.

The England striker swapped serial underachievers Tottenham for perennial winners Bayern Munich last summer in the hope of finally getting his hands on some silverware.

Kane's hope of ending his trophy jinx were dashed on Wednesday as Real Madrid staged a trademark comeback to beat Bayern 2-1 at the Bernabeu to secure a place in next month's Uefa Champions League final.

It means Bayern will end a season without a trophy for the first time in 12 years, while Kane's wait to get his hands on silverware of any kind continues. The 30 year old, who made his first-team debut on loan at Leyton Orient in England's lower leagues in 2011, has yet to win a major honour at club or international level.

Prolific in the Premier League – the former Spurs talisman is second in the division's all-time top scorer list with 213 – Kane has transferred that goal prowess seamlessly to the Bundesliga, banging in a staggering 44 goals in 45 matches across competitions.

Thirty six of those have come in only 32 league games, but Bayern's hegemony on the Bundesliga shield was broken by a Bayer Leverkusen side who have yet to taste defeat in any competition this season.

They trail by a staggering 15 points – unthinkable for a club of Bayern's stature – and even second place is far from certain, with Stuttgart looming just two points behind them with two games remaining.

Bayern won 11 consecutive league titles from 2013 to 2023 but will finish 2024 empty-handed. Already the dominant force domestically, the addition of Kane was supposed to expand the German club's empire into Europe, adding to their six European Cups.

Kane's Champions League contribution for his new team has been sizable – eight goals and four assists attest to that – and yet Bayern fell at the semi-final stage, the first time they had gone that far in Europe's premier club competition since last winning it in 2020.

The Bavarians' undoing was the concession of two late goals in Madrid. Thomas Tuchel had removed Kane, who had earlier provided a sumptuous assist for Alphonso Davies to put Bayern ahead in the tie, in the 85th minute.

Real striker Joselu would score in the 88th and 91st. Kane's substitution appeared to change the momentum of the match with Bayern in control but Tuchel told broadcaster DAZN the striker was unable to continue. "He couldn't keep going. He played with back pain and he couldn't keep going, his back froze up," said Tuchel.

Losing in such heartbreaking fashion to a team who deal almost exclusively in heartbreak is no real shame. Far more galling is the way Bayern were dumped out of the German Cup by third-tier Saarbrucken in only the second round last November.

The cup is always low on Bayern's list of priorities, but the manner of the defeat, and the level of opposition, would only serve to highlight Bayern's shortcomings against lesser lights this season. Kane played no part in that embarrassment, and played only 30 minutes – off the bench – in Bayern's 3-0 Super Cup defeat to RB Leipzig, in his first match for the club.

It would be a huge leap to blame Kane for Bayern's woes or suggest he has upset a winning formula. The mystery of Kane making Bayern better while simultaneously weakening them is a curious one, but does overlook, rather conveniently, several factors. The indefatigability of Real Madrid and the undeniability of a Leverkusen side wildly overachieving help explain how Bayern missed out on their main objectives but the failures of those around Kane is perhaps more telling.

Bayern's second-highest scorer this term is Jamal Musiala with 12 while Leroy Sane was the only player to accumulate more assists than Kane's eight in the Bundesliga, highlighting the team's reliance on the England captain. Tuchel's spat with the Bayern executive branch has played out publicly all season, which has to have had some effect on the players. The German will depart imminently.

Zero for four trophies does not read well on any striker's CV, that's extended to eight if you take into account the finals Kane has lost playing for Tottenham and England. His critics will relish using those figures against him, but the Bayern hierarchy will have seen enough from Kane's first season to be confident their investment will pay off in the future with more titles and trophies.

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Updated: May 09, 2024, 8:54 AM