Did Kane join Bayern Munich at the wrong time?


If Bayern Munich fail to win the Bundesliga title this season, Harry Kane won’t be to blame. The England captain will be a convenient punchline having made the move to Bavaria to compete for the silverware that had evaded him at Tottenham Hotspur, but nobody could ever blame Kane for the troubles being experienced by the German giants.

Kane has broken records with his goalscoring in the Bundesliga this season. Indeed, if the 30-year-old maintains his current scoring rate, having netted an incredible 22 goals in 17 games, he will break Robert Lewandowski’s record for the most goals scored in a single Bundesliga campaign.

Despite this, Bayern Munich find themselves seven points off the top of the Bundesliga table. The Bavarians have a game in-hand over Bayer Leverkusen, but the pace being set by Xabi Alonso’s team means many now see them as favourites to win the German title and end Bayern Munich’s 11-year dominance of the division. Kane might have joined Bayern at the wrong time.

Sunday’s home defeat to Werder Bremen highlighted many of the issues currently afflicting Thomas Tuchel’s team. While Bayern Munich created enough opportunities to win the game, their vulnerability at the back made it easy for the visitors to the Allianz Arena to get in behind. Werder Bremen could have scored more than once.

There is a disconnect between the defence and midfield which can be seen most clearly when Bayern Munich are in defensive transition. This has led to suggestions that the Bavarians need a new number six, something that Tuchel has talked about himself since the club failed to land Joao Palhinha in the summer transfer window.

Bayern Munich’s full backs have also faced criticism with Konrad Laimer – usually a central midfielder – currently operating on the right side of the defence. Alphonso Davies has allowed his form to dip this season with the Canadian international reportedly interesting Real Madrid who could make a summer move.

Tuchel was brought in by Bayern Munich to solve the problems that emerged under Julian Nagelsmann last season, but they remain a flawed team even after the signing of Kane. The hope was that the Englishman’s goals would help paper over the cracks, and that might still happen. But the cracks are getting bigger. There might be too much to paper over.

It could be the case that Bayern Munich are reaching the end of a cycle. This happens to some teams after a period of success – see Jurgen Klopp’s final season at Borussia Dortmund or last season at Liverpool – and can be difficult to explain. It could, however, be evident in the dramatic drop in energy and intensity from the Bavarians this season.

“We were far too sluggish, there was no life in it,” said Thomas Muller after Sunday’s shock defeat to Werder Bremen, hinting at the drop of intensity that has also angered Tuchel over the course of the season. “We begged for the goal (Werder Bremen scored). That was a slap in the face, but we also helped a lot.”

At 30 years old, Kane can’t afford to hang around for a rebuild at the Allianz Arena. He left Spurs presumably because they faced a similar situation, although Bayern Munich could retool quickly for another title challenge if they lose out to Bayer Leverkusen this season. Kane will most likely still get his hands on some silverware at some point.

However, Kane’s move to Bayern Munich was meant to guarantee him at least one trophy in his debut season. That was the whole point of the transfer – to distinguish an elite level career with some silverware. Halfway through said debut season, nothing is guaranteed. Timing counts for so much in football and Kane’s in joining Bayern Munich’s could have been better.

Author: Mark Hayes