Harry Kane’s trophy hunt has reached a catastrophic new low at Bayern Munich

Harry Kane was sent off with Bayern minutes from Wembley – instead Real Madrid came from behind to win (Getty Images)

Some jokes write themselves: Harry Kane moved to Bayern Munich to win his first trophy, only to have Bayern Munich experience a trophyless season for the first time in twelve years. Perhaps it is irrefutable evidence of a curse that Kane’s arrival in Germany, having left Tottenham without ending the club’s long wait for silverware, suddenly caused a title-winning machine like Bayern to malfunction beyond recognition.

This is of course not fair or true, but although Kane’s debut season at Bayern ends with a handful of individual trophies and a new personal record for his most goals in a season, a first major honor of the 30-year-old’s professional career is awaited will continue. It may have been unthinkable last summer, but the trophy cabinet remains empty after Real Madrid ended Bayern’s Champions League hopes in the semi-finals.

So a failed season? Kane was asked about the prospect of a year without trophies before facing Arsenal in the quarter-finals and his answer was unequivocal. “Of course,” he replied. “We are expected to win.”

But for the first time since 2011/2012, Bayern has not done so. Real Madrid surprised the German team with their late comeback at the Bernabéu. It will have been especially difficult for Kane after the England captain was sent off by Thomas Tuchel with Bayern in the lead. Kane was minutes away from Wembley but could only watch as Joselu came off the bench to send Madrid through with his dramatic double.

The Champions League was Bayern’s last chance to win silverware. Their hold on the Bundesliga had already disappeared as Bayer Leverkusen ended Bayern’s unprecedented run of eleven consecutive league titles with five games remaining. There is also no German Cup to fall back on; the defeat against lowly Saarbrücken, one of the biggest shocks in the history of the DFB Pokal, ensured that in November. With five weeks to go, Bayern had nothing left to fight for at home but pride.

Although, after a humbling few months, there is little sign of that in Bavaria at the moment. In the modern era of European football, where wealth is concentrated across the continent in a cartel of elite clubs, Bayern were considered too big to fail. The history of the six-time European champions and the economic advantages they have over the rest of Germany meant that titles were a formality, where even a bad year could end with another Bundesliga crown for ‘FC Hollywood’. For all their problems on and off the pitch in 2024, Bayern may have been worse 12 months ago, but they still won the league as Borussia Dortmund suffocated on the final day. It summed up Bayern’s sense of inevitability.

For Kane, the end of his new club’s supremacy is a cruel twist in a year in which the England captain has cemented his place as one of the best strikers in the world. Kane has had an extraordinary first term, scoring 44 goals in 45 appearances for Bayern in all competitions, a personal best. His 36 goals in the Bundesliga are already a record for a debut season in Germany. By the end of May, only Robert Lewandowski and Gerd Müller – the two most prolific goalscorers in German football history – will have scored more in one year. Regardless of the accolades, it is still one of the biggest campaigns abroad by an English player, an unprecedented goal return for a first year on the continent.

A hat-trick in his Der Klassiker debut was one of Kane's many highlights in his first year at Bayern (Getty Images)A hat-trick in his Der Klassiker debut was one of Kane's many highlights in his first year at Bayern (Getty Images)

A hat-trick in his Der Klassiker debut was one of Kane’s many highlights in his first year at Bayern (Getty Images)

But Kane also scored goals in record numbers at Tottenham. It was a desire to win trophies, and the gradual acceptance that this would not happen with Spurs, that gave him the idea of ​​leaving his boyhood club. At Bayern, trophies were seen as an almost guarantee.

And yet Kane’s first season came as Bayern lost their dominant position, amid a wider trend of decline that has led to a dramatic decline at the Allianz Arena. There was perhaps a warning when Bayern made the decision to sack former goalkeeper and CEO Oliver Kahn and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic just days after winning the Bundesliga title on goal difference last May. The signing of a superstar like Kane for a club record €100m calmed the disgruntled support for a while, but also put more pressure on manager Thomas Tuchel as Bayern faced an emerging power elsewhere.

It must be said that the stunning success of Xabi Alonso and Bayer Leverkusen has played a bigger role in Bayern’s nadir. After winning the first Bundesliga title in the club’s 120-year history, Leverkusen is on course to remain undefeated all season – a feat not even Bayern has achieved in the history of German football. Even the best Bayern sides may have struggled to keep up with Leverkusen’s points tally, and a heavy defeat to Alonso’s side in February was symbolic of the shift: Leverkusen were united under Alonso’s leadership and tactical vision, while the side van Tuchel was in turmoil, while Kane barely had an advantage. a tap as Bayern’s invincibility slipped away and they were defeated 3-0.

Bayern were no match as Leverkusen broke an 11-year streak dating back to Jurgen Klopp's Dortmund side (Getty Images)Bayern were no match as Leverkusen broke an 11-year streak dating back to Jurgen Klopp's Dortmund side (Getty Images)

Bayern were no match as Leverkusen broke an 11-year streak dating back to Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund side (Getty Images)

Kane will have a new manager to work with after the summer. There is no point in Tuchel continuing his ill-fated spell until the end of the season. More changes could happen: Thomas Müller and Manuel Neuer represent the core of a once-dominant side that has done their best. Jamal Musiala, Alphonso Davies and Joshua Kimmich will attract interest from elsewhere and they may prefer their options. Bruised Bayern must now rebuild, while Leverkusen, with Alonso determined to stay at the club if they return to the Champions League, can strengthen. For once, Bayern will be the challenger in the title race next year.

The irony is that after spending 4,369 days at Tottenham without winning a trophy, Kane was given the opportunity to lift silverware on his first day at Bayern. But Kane’s first contact as a Bayern player came when they were already 3-0 down against RB Leipzig in the season-opening final of the German Super Cup. It may not have counted for much, but it marked the start of a season in which Bayern’s defeats were rare yet catastrophic once they arrived: in the third tier of Saarbrücken, in the 5-1 defeat by Frankfurt and the 3- 0 at Leverkusen, against struggling Bochum and newly promoted Heidenheim in April when they gave up their status as German champions.

All eras eventually come to an end, but the manner in which Bayern capitulated has disgraced a proud club. Perhaps Kane and his goal saved Bayern from further embarrassment; Musiala, with thirteen, and Leroy Sane, with ten, are the only other members of the Bayern squad to reach double figures in all competitions. It made his substitution at the Bernabeu all the more inexplicable.

But a unanimous win at the club’s Player of the Year awards and a Bundesliga golden boot will hardly be any consolation for Kane when he considers the unthinkable outcome of Bayern’s season, or the new balance of power in German football. And unless the England captain leads his country to European Championship glory in Germany this summer, there is now no guarantee that Kane’s trophy drought will end next year.

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