Thomas Tuchel backs Harry Kane to thrive in renewal of Arsenal rivalry

Estimated read time 4 min read

Thomas Tuchel said that nothing will hold Harry Kane back when the Bayern Munich striker returns to north London and renews hostilities with Arsenal in the Champions League.

Bayern’s manager, who warned that the Bundesliga champions know how to hurt Mikel Arteta’s side, is not worried about Kane being targeted because of his Tottenham connections during the first leg of Tuesday’s quarter-final at the Emirates Stadium. The England captain scored 14 goals in 19 appearances for Spurs against Arsenal and Tuchel backed him to silence the taunts from the home fans.

“He has thrived on it many times now so I don’t think he will stop tomorrow,” the German said. “I think it’s very enjoyable for Harry to be here against Arsenal in the quarter-final of the Champions League. I think it will make him very happy to score. I don’t see anything holding him back. I feel he is very motivated. Harry always helps you to win in any team, for England, Tottenham and now for us. He will help us to perform.”

Tuchel, who is expected to leave Bayern at the end of a disappointing campaign, faced heavy criticism after his side’s 3-2 defeat by Heidenheim on Saturday. Bayern are 16 points behind the Bundesliga leaders, Bayer Leverkusen, and face missing out on the league title for the first time in 12 years.

Europe is likely to define their season. Tuchel, who refused to discuss the inquest that followed Bayern squandering a 2-0 lead against Heidenheim, was glowing in his praise of Arsenal. However he was bullish about Bayern’s chances and suggested that their greater experience at this level could be crucial against the Premier League’s pacesetters.

“Arsenal are the best level in the Premier League,” Tuchel said. “All the data shows that. They have amazing data in the Champions League. It will be a big test for us. The season is not lost. The season is over when it’s over. The criticism is deserved and we are not going to win the league. We haven’t had consistency, passion and hunger in the Bundesliga. In the Champions League we have played at a high level.

“Arsenal are a real team. They are the best team in Europe currently in terms of dead-ball situations. It’s the second year for them playing at this high level. They have loads of energy. There has been a complete change of culture since Arteta joined. You can see his handwriting. The club wanted to go with him and they are harvesting that. They are dominating the toughest league.

Thomas Tuchel overseeing Bayern Munich training on MondayView image in fullscreen

“But we know our strengths. We know how we want to cause them pain. We know the Champions League is where we have more experience over the last few years. There is a different type of football than in the Premier League, so that has an influence.”

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Tuchel said “no more headlines” when he was asked about a potential return to England this summer. He was more willing to talk about Kai Havertz. Arsenal’s German forward scored the winner when Tuchel’s Chelsea beat Manchester City in the final three years ago.

“Kai scored maybe the best goal in my coaching career so far,” Tuchel said, before joking about his past with Havertz. “He has to think about his connection to me and take it slow. This is the respect we expect from him.”

Bayern, who could have the former Spurs defender, Eric Dier, at centre-back, have been boosted by Manuel Neuer, Kingsley Coman, Leroy Sané, Aleksandar Pavlovic and Noussair Mazraoui returning to training. The Germans will have no away fans at the Emirates after being punished by Uefa for crowd trouble during their last-16 tie against Lazio.


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