Ahead of Bayern Munich’s trip to Borussia Dortmund for the big Bundesliga “Klassiker” at the start of the month, Dortmund coach Edin Terzic was asked how his team would deal with Harry Kane. “Collectively,” Terzic insisted. It didn’t work.
Within three minutes of kick-off, Kane had evaded his markers, dropped stealthily into one of those deeper positions that only he spots and launched an attack which led to the corner from which Dayot Upamecano put Bayern ahead.
Kane scored the next three goals in a 4-0 win. It was his second consecutive Bundesliga hat-trick, his third overall and part of a total tally of 17 league goals, plus four more in the Champions League, since he swapped London for Munich in the summer.
The England captain has taken Germany by storm. No Bundesliga player has scored more after just 11 games (Bayern legend Robert Lewandowski came closest with 16 during the 2019-20 season) and no player has ever scored so frequently, with Kane finding the net on average every 57 minutes.
For context: last season’s Bundesliga joint top scorers Niclas Fullkrug and Christopher Nkunku scored 16 goals each.
There was huge pressure on Kane to deliver after Bayern broke the €100million-barrier for the first time in their history.
After a difficult season — comparatively speaking — in which they only just scraped the Bundesliga title and were thrashed 4-1 on aggregate by Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals, the German giants needed to make a statement.
Before deciding to move for Kane, Bayern had considered Serhou Guirassy and Victor Boniface, both of whom have got off to prolific starts themselves this season for high-flying Stuttgart and table-topping Leverkusen respectively. But Bayern needed more than just goals. Kane has more than delivered on his big-money transfer fee (in excess of £100million).
Six times he has made the front cover of renowned football magazine Kicker, which has also voted him “player of the weekend” on four occasions.
He is frequently dubbed “King Kane” by the tabloid media in Germany and depicted as James Bond by Bayern’s own social media department.
Kane likes to play golf with Bayern team-mate Thomas Muller and never complains about bad refereeing decisions — all cultural reference points which Germans consider to be, as Kicker magazine wrote, “very British”.
Off the pitch, he likes to keep a low profile. On the pitch, he is thriving. “Kane’s great strength is how he drops deep and gets involved in the build-up,” says Thomas Hitzlsperger, the former Aston Villa and Germany midfielder.
“That makes him so difficult to defend against as defenders don’t know whether to follow him or to tell midfielders to pick him up. But it’s his clinical finishing that stands out.”
Kane is also making his team-mates better, none more so than Leroy Sane, with whom he has forged a close bond. The two have provided a combined total of seven assists for each other this season — another Bundesliga record. And after a 4-2 win over Heidenheim last weekend, Kane insisted modestly that, actually, Sane is Bayern’s best player.
"Kane still conducts his interviews in English — his London accent easier to understand for local reporters than Jude Bellingham’s Brummie twang"
Kane is taking German lessons but still conducts his interviews in English — his London accent easier to understand for local reporters than Jude Bellingham’s Brummie twang.
He missed the official Oktoberfest team photo to attend the birth of his fourth child, but he did don the Bavarian lederhosen to join the festivities after scoring his first hat-trick in the 7-0 win over Bochum in September, celebrating with a big pretzel and a “maß” (pronounced “maas”) of beer. That’s two pints.
Kane has had less success in the Munich housing market, spending his first three months in the Four Seasons hotel with his father and brother, where the bill is reported to have topped €1m.
This week it was reported that he is to move into the villa of a former Bayern player, where he will be joined by his wife Katie and their four children.
Kane’s home, however, will always be London, where he will return on Friday when he captains England in their Euro 2024 qualifier against Malta at Wembley. And with the Champions League final also taking place at Wembley next June, he will be hoping it will not be his last competitive game under the arch this season.
Matt Ford is a German football expert