Harry Kane doubles Bayern Munich over Lazio to send them into quarter-finals

Drummers played tribal beats in Sudkurve. Off the field, Bayern Munich players were launching wild attacks one after another, with the Allianz Arena crowd cheering along with them. And if you closed your eyes and tried not to think too much, it was possible to imagine that it was another time, a better time. That everything will be okay in the end.

Harry Kane

Of course, they aren’t. Bayer Leverkusen are on the run with the Bundesliga, coach Thomas Tuchel is on summer leave, and there’s a good case to be made for axing almost a third of their underperforming squad with them. But still, a stolen glance at a mutilated dream that dares to return their gaze. Bayern is still in the Champions League. Their work is still incomplete and you have to wade through thick snow to see the front four. And they still have Harry Kane.

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What a great irony it would be if it was Kane – a man who has never won a trophy in his life – who dragged this group of serial medalists and hereditary champions over the line. It was his 32nd and 33rd goals of the season that saw them reach the quarter-finals here, linked to another superb European performance from Thomas Müller, and the more Bayern asserted themselves the more Lazio are ninth-best in the Serie A. Started looking like a team. One.

And if Bayern manage to negotiate the next three rounds and climb up the ladder to Wembley’s Royal Box, they can look back on those two minutes that turned this tie on its head. As Ciro Immobile missed a superb free header from six yards which would have put Lazio 2–0 on aggregate, Kane headed home Bayern ahead from Rafael Guerreiro’s poor shot. These are the edges, these are the moments. And Bayern knows better than anyone that when it gets to this stage of the season, you take little blips of luck where you can get them.

Muller scored the second just before half-time, glancing over Matthijs de Ligt’s screaming volley, Kane responded swiftly by tapping home Leroy Sane’s narrow shot, and clearly Bayern could have scored a fourth or fifth. Was. But more important was the rediscovery of what you might even call his old arrogance: swagger and a sense of calm and certainty that has been noticeably absent lately. Great Bayern teams killed without thinking. Everyone knew his job. Everyone knew how it would end.

“We managed to stay focused and disciplined for 90 minutes,” said Tuchel, who was limping slightly after kicking a box and breaking his toe during his pre-match team talk. “We didn’t do anything crazy, we waited until the gap opened up and we had a better understanding of when to accelerate and when to take risks. In the end it seemed easier than it was.”

Equally, let’s be real: Lazio were quite disappointing here. Maurizio Sarri’s gameplan had seen them carefully through the 130 minutes of this encounter, and it was going quite well: defending in numbers, counter-attacking through the speedy Felipe Anderson and the bustling Immobile. But once they needed to run, they disappeared into the night. Anderson was a one-man whirlwind on the right wing and Luis Alberto was probably the busiest of their midfield three, but they ended the night without a single shot on target.


In frustration Sarri made a triple substitution on the hour, withdrawing the captain, Immobile (206 goals for Lazio in 329 games), for Argentinian forward Taty Castellanos (two goals in 25 games). And really it was a statement of sorts, given the way Lazio have struggled this season to change gears, to find different ways to win. No team has earned fewer points than losing a place in Serie A this season.

But as Lazio tried to open up the game, pushing the full-backs up and trying to play more ambitiously through midfield, something felt a bit off. The contrasts were all wrong, the relationships were all wrong, and suddenly Bayern were back in their comfort zone: winning the ball high and feasting extensively on open spaces.

For Bayern, tough tests undoubtedly lie ahead. Many of their big players – Joshua Kimmich and Manuel Neuer come to mind – are still floundering, performing barely enough. The defensive duo of De Ligt and Eric Dier look vulnerable against teams who run at them at pace. But however there is still light, there is still hope.

“nights like this can really change the weather,” said Kane. And for Bayern it was a night of healing, of turning the page, of momentarily dreaming of being king again.

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