Same But Different As Bayern Munch’s Harry Kane Returns To North London

Bayern Munich striker Harry Kane returns to north London to face old foes Arsenal in Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final and finds himself nursing a familiar problem. Once again, Kane will step onto the Emirates Stadium pitch as a shining light in a struggling team seemingly on course for a disappointing season without silverware. This time, however, Kane is wearing the red and white of Bayern Munich, a proud club who have collapsed under the weight of Xabi Alonso’s incredible Bayer Leverkusen this season.

Famously trophyless despite a stellar career, Kane left Spurs for German behemoths Bayern, a club synonymous with success and silverware.

Kane quickly established himself as Bayern’s most important player, with 32 goals in 28 league matches — and six more in the Champions League.

The England captain is however no closer to that elusive first piece of silverware.

Leverkusen, long chided for failing to perform when it matters, are 16 points clear with six games remaining and could win the league for the first time this weekend, in between the two Arsenal games.

Riding high atop the Premier League, Arsenal fans will no doubt delight in telling Kane he has taken his trophyless curse with him to Bavaria.

And while Kane would have envisioned a happier north London homecoming after his 100 million euro ($108 million) move, Tuesday gives him the perfect chance to sink the knife into an Arsenal side lacking in European football pedigree.

‘Fighting mode’

Another man hoping to silence the doubters is Bayern manager Thomas Tuchel, whose greatest managerial successes have been in the Champions League.

Tuchel took Paris Saint-Germain to the 2020 Champions League final, further than any other manager has carried the club, and won the competition with Chelsea one year later.

Despite letting go of the league title for the first time in more than a decade, Tuchel knows all will be forgiven with a Champions League win.

Tuchel left five first teamers out of Saturday’s surprise Heidenheim loss — captain Manuel Neuer, Leroy Sane, Kingsley Coman, Noussair Mazraoui and Aleksandar Pavlovic.

Tuchel said “none of those five have been rested”, but all are expected to make the trip to London, with Neuer and Sane almost certain to play.

“We still have one goal left which is to travel to Wembley,” Tuchel said on Friday, explaining “we have the anger in our stomachs to set things straight”.

“We’re in the quarter-finals so there are not too many more steps to be taken. Nothing matters except this goal.”

Two-time Champions League winner Thomas Mueller said his side could harness the frustration and unleash it on Tuesday.

Mueller pointed to his “experience” in football and said critics should hold off until there was nothing left to play for.

“This result has me in fighting mode ahead of Tuesday.

“Self-pity doesn’t help us at all,” Mueller said. “The resentment inside me is smiling again.”

Shifting sands

Despite their current predicament, both Bayern and Kane can take solace from their records against Arsenal.

Kane has a habit of exacting sweet revenge on the club who released him as a junior, scoring 14 goals in 19 games. No player has scored more goals in the north London derby.

The England captain’s win-loss record against Arsenal is less spectacular but still solid, seven victories, seven defeats and five draws.

Bayern have lost just three of 12 Champions League encounters with the Gunners, winning seven, and have won each of the last three games between the clubs by a 5-1 scoreline.

Six-time European champions, Bayern’s record against Arsenal is however a reminder of how much things have changed between the sides.

On course for a first Premier League title since 2004, the Gunners have won all four of their Champions League home games this season, scoring 13 goals and conceding none.

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