Bayern’s season a failure without Champions League title – Kane

Harry Kane has said he is still motivated by proving his critics wrong but admitted Bayern Munich‘s season will be a failure if they cannot win the Champions League.

Bayern host Arsenal in Wednesday’s quarterfinal, second leg at the Allianz Arena with the tie evenly poised at 2-2 from last week’s first game.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

Kane began his youth career at Arsenal but was released by the club aged nine and has previously spoken about the impact it had on his career, saying it instilled a determination to push himself that contributed to a record of 15 goals in 20 games against the north London club.

The 30-year-old became the all-time record goalscorer in north London derbies before leaving Tottenham for Bayern last summer in a deal worth up to €120 million ($128m).

When asked at a news conference on Tuesday if he still felt the same determination to prove Arsenal wrong, Kane said: “I think it was one of the biggest games of the season for pretty much my whole career, we played them at least twice a year for the last 10 years and it was always a big occasion, big moment.

“Maybe it was in the back of the mind, being released from a young age, and there’s always a point to prove — I’m the type of player who, throughout my career, has had points to prove along the way. I don’t think that ever leaves you. I think it’ll always be in my DNA until I retire.

“There’ll always be a reason to prove someone wrong or to prove to myself I can do something, so I don’t think specifically back to that and think ‘I was released when I was 9 years old, I really have to make a difference tomorrow.’

“Now I’m here at Bayern Munich it’s just about being a top team in the Champions League. Of course I have history with them [Arsenal], but all I can do is try and help Bayern Munich qualify for the semifinal of the Champions League.”

Bayern missed out on the Bundesliga title for the first time in 12 years as Bayer Leverkusen lifted the trophy last weekend and Kane said: “Of course, from the club’s point of view it will be a failed season if we don’t win anything this year because we’re expected to win, but then all you can do it take that into next year and try to turn that around.

“So I think that’s a harsh reality in winning and losing, you can do a lot of good things throughout the year and still end up on the losing side so I don’t think it’s as harsh as that, there’s a lot of things that go into it but I think the main thing for us right now is that we still have an opportunity to turn the season into a great season if we win the Champions League.”

Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel believes his team’s greater pedigree in the competition gives them the edge ahead of Wednesday’s second leg.

Arsenal are playing in the Champions League for the first time in seven years and have not reached the semifinals since 2009.

Six-time winners Bayern last won the competition in 2020 but they have lost at the quarterfinal stage in each of the past three seasons.

“I think we have the slight advantage of experience in our team,” said Tuchel, who lifted the trophy a year later with Chelsea, defeating Manchester City in the final.

“We have players who have won it, we have players who have played decisive matches in this competition. But to make in an advantage, we still have to bring out our very best.

“It can also sometimes be an advantage not to have the experience and have the role as contenders, the role as a hunter. That can be something for Arsenal. To go for it after so many years.

“Also for us it’s not so usual for us to be in a semifinal. If you see the last years it’s not so easy for us, or anyone, to overcome this stage. Now the situation is here that we have one decisive match to make the next big step in this beautiful competition.

“We are determined to bring everything to the table. If the experience within our group brings us an extra 5% we are happy to bring it to the table.

“But we have to bring it. Nobody will give us anything. It’s like this in this competition. It’s super tough.”