Harry Kane draws on Spurs 2019 example as pointer for Bayern | Nick Ames

Estimated read time 5 min read

Harry Kane emerged from the Emirates with the look of a man who had enjoyed himself. “I think they have a soft respect for me, the Arsenal fans,” he laughed, a glimmer of mischief crossing the striker’s face as he remembered the cacophony that had accompanied his every move upon returning to enemy territory. The jeers were never louder than when he stepped up to the penalty spot, blocking out the noise to roll calmly past David Raya and give Bayern Munich the upper hand.

Bayern felt they had just about departed with it, even though Leandro Trossard’s equaliser set up a titanic rematch in Munich next Wednesday. Kane’s demeanour could be explained by the fact Bayern, a soft touch domestically of late, had shown a resilience that has deserted their Bundesliga campaign. It had clearly encouraged him, suggesting that well-documented dream of a Wembley final for the England captain may not quite be a thing of fantasy after all.

“This was a chance to show some togetherness and sometimes that’s defending as a team,” he said. “We worked, we blocked, we tackled, caught them on the transition. We have to find that team ethic where we grind out games because we haven’t done it enough this year.”

Bayern had hardly survived the Alamo but they showed the smarts needed to douse the fire of an Arsenal side that, after Bukayo Saka’s opener, looked capable of blowing them away. They stayed in the game, punished mistakes with an old-fashioned ruthlessness and thought they could have pulled clear before Trossard ensured the final score was a fair reflection. The DNA of champions still lies in there somewhere; Kane, though, was keen to draw upon a different history lesson from his Tottenham days.

He brought up the 2018-19 season, when Spurs staggered to fourth place with seven defeats in their final 12 Premier League games but blew any negativity away in Europe. Their performances, culminating in that barely believable semi-final at Ajax, brought a first Champions League final. Kane was a frustrated onlooker against the Dutch side, as well as for the quarter-final second leg against Manchester City, through injury, but Tottenham heaved themselves through the adversity.

“That campaign is similar because we weren’t having a great time in the league if I’m totally honest,” he said. “But we found some passion and togetherness in the Champions League and we managed to get to the final. That experience gives me hope that we can find that again. We know we can perform in the big games, perform in the big quarter-final at home next week and try to get back to the final.”

Harry Kane of Bayern Munich reacts to a backdrop of Arsenal flags after the hosts scored the opening goalView image in fullscreen

Even if Bayern enter this competition with a heavier weight of expectation, the comparison is valid in showing Champions League football can throw parochial toils out of the window. Bayern will have selection problems of their own when Arsenal visit: Alphonso Davies picked up a suspension for a daft early foul on Saka while, perhaps even more damagingly, Serge Gnabry looks certain to miss out after picking up a thigh injury after the break. For all the satisfaction of leaving north London with a draw, Bayern will have to do it the hard way, but Kane took heart from that fact that, with away fans banned, they still managed to dodge the brickbats on Tuesday.

“It was strange to have no one there for us but I thought we dealt with it well,” he said. “I think you’ll see [our fans] even more excited next week having not been to this game and maybe even louder than they usually are. Hopefully we can use that energy to our advantage and really try to put the pressure on.”

In reality the pressure will run both ways. Arsenal will have defending to do but Bayern need to salvage their season and show the empire has not fallen just yet. Kane, who could barely be doing anything more on the goalscoring front, will also know every leap or stumble in a Bayern shirt casts a different reflection on his decision to move last summer.

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“Of course it’s not the season I wanted with the way the league’s gone and the way we got knocked out of the cup early in the season,” he said. “Now we have hopes in the Champions League, which would be an amazing achievement. I try to perform for my team, I’m always confident to score goals. I’ve been doing that this year and I’ve been looking at areas I can improve. I still think there are areas where I can get better.”

Did a one-night reunion with 60,000 old foes leave him pining for the league he had left behind? “No, I’m really enjoying my experience in Germany,” he replied. “It was a step that I needed in my career for a fresh stimulus, a fresh challenge and new surroundings, new stadiums, new teams and I’m really happy I made the move.

“Of course I know how big the Premier league is, I played there for so many years before [but] my future is at Bayern Munich. I have a four year contract, I’m really enjoying it, hopefully I will be able to make something special happen this season.”

Kane boarded the team bus knowing that, for the moment at least, Bayern’s chances of rising through the turmoil remain alive.

Source: theguardian.com

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