A closer look at Harry Kane’s record-breaking start to life with Bayern Munich

By Sports Desk December 18, 2023

Harry Kane racked up his 20th Bundesliga goal in a record 14 games as he fired Bayern Munich to a 3-0 win over Stuttgart on Sunday.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the exploits of the England captain – and his international team-mate Jude Bellingham, who scored again for Real Madrid the same night.

Kane shatters record

Kane’s double against Stuttgart took him to 20 goals in the German top flight 50 per cent quicker in terms of matches than the previous record, held since the Bundesliga’s inaugural season in 1963-64 by Uwe Seeler.

The late Hamburg and West Germany striker scored 20 in his first 21 league appearances for his hometown club and 30 in 30 that season, taking his Hamburg tally to 297 in 267 games after several prolific years in the Oberliga Nord before the formation of the new national top flight.

His record came under threat in 2020 from another name familiar to Premier League fans as Erling Haaland made a mid-season move to Borussia Dortmund from Red Bull Salzburg. The Norwegian scored 11 in 15 games in the remainder of that season and began 2020-21 with 10 in seven.

He therefore missed out on Seeler’s record by one game before passing 20 in style with four in a 5-2 win over Hertha Berlin.

Kane, though, has produced an unprecedented start.

He netted on his Bundesliga debut against Werder Bremen and scored twice against Augsburg before being shut out by Borussia Monchengladbach.

A goal against Bayer Leverkusen made it four in four games, followed by a hat-trick against Bochum. Goals against RB Leipzig and Mainz took him to nine in eight games.

He scored eight in his next three, successive hat-tricks against Darmstadt and Dortmund and a brace against Heidenheim, and also scored against Cologne before Sunday’s historic double.

In all he has three hat-tricks and three doubles and has scored in 11 of his 14 league appearances. Four Champions League goals take his Bayern total to 24 in 21 appearances.

The last man to score 20 goals or more in the first half of a Bundesliga season was Kane’s predecessor in Bayern’s number nine shirt, Robert Lewandowski, who had 22 in 2020-21 and went on to score 41 in the season – breaking Gerd Muller’s Bundesliga record of 40, also for Bayern in 1971-72. Muller in 1968-69 was the only other player to reach 20 by this stage.

Golden Boy Bellingham

Bellingham’s form this year earned him Tuttosport’s Golden Boy award in November and the Kopa Trophy at October’s Ballon d’Or ceremony, awarded respectively to Europe and the world’s best young player.

A stunning start to his LaLiga career has raised the possibility of the 20-year-old pushing for the main Ballon d’Or award in future seasons, with Sunday’s opener in Madrid’s 4-1 win over Villarreal being his 17th goal in 20 appearances for the Spanish giants.

That includes 13 in 15 league games, with doubles against Almeria, Osasuna and bitter rivals Barcelona, the latter to earn a last-minute Clasico win after Barca had led 1-0.

He has also scored Champions League goals against Union Berlin, Braga and in both meetings with Napoli to further justify his claim to Zinedine Zidane’s old number five shirt at the Bernabeu.

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    Victor Boniface had opened the scoring from the penalty spot before Granit Xhaka doubled the lead with a long-range effort.

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    “We have to enjoy winning this for the entire club. The first championship in 120 years. It’s an honour to be part of it and working here. Today we deserve to celebrate, with family, friends and fans.”

    Leverkusen remain unbeaten during a fairy-tale campaign which could yet yield even more silverware.

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    “It may not be the last party of the current season,” Alonso added.

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    Boniface opened the scoring against Werder with a 25th-minute penalty before former Arsenal captain Xhaka made it 2-0 on the hour.

    Wirtz then took centre stage, adding a third in the 68th minute to all but end any doubts about the result or title, before the 20-year-old completed his hat-trick with two more goals in the closing stages.

    Wirtz said: “It’s indescribable. I can’t even realise it yet. I need to be in the dressing room for a while to get my head around what we’ve achieved.”

    Fellow Germany international Jonas Hofmann, who joined Leverkusen last summer from Borussia Monchengladbach, added: “Everything really flows through the body. You don’t know: should you laugh? Should you cry? It’s really indescribable, I wouldn’t have dreamed of this a year ago, in the first year to do it straight away. That’s just awesome.

    “We constantly pushed ourselves to the limit every game, no matter who was playing. We were always there, always present.

    “This season you can see that everyone is needed so that the level doesn’t (drop) off. Then you’ll be able to play like that in three competitions. The coach is setting a brutal example of that.”

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    Bayern chief executive Jan-Christian Dreesen added: “They’ve had a flawless season so far, the team have demonstrated courage, class and above all consistency, and that’s why they deserve to be 2024 German champions.”

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    “That’s very simple. We had one of the best performances that we’ve had all season in the first half against a really good team. It should have been three or four (goals) or more. It didn’t happen. In the second half the momentum shifted.

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    Villa were brilliant in a second half they dominated and their superiority eventually paid off as substitute Bailey tapped home at the back post before Watkins took advantage of Arsenal’s high line to burst through on goal and finish with aplomb.

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    “This is the level I want to get to with our players and progressively, we are getting better.”

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