Harry Kane Bayern Munich transfer: How could the Bundesliga champions line up with the striker

Harry Kane is reportedly on the verge of joining Bayern Munich after the Bavarian giants had their latest bid accepted by the Tottenham hierarchy.

It’s taken weeks of negotiations, and a full on will-he-wont-he saga, but it looks as though a bid of €100m and further add-ons has finally convinced Daniel Levy and Spurs to part with their talisman now, rather than lose him for free next summer. 

With Bayern and Kane reportedly having agreed personal terms on a four year contract, it appears that the saga is finally over, and that Uli Hoeness and Bayern Munich have finally signed their Robert Lewandowski replacement, 13 months on from the Polish superstar’s move to Barcelona. 

Ultimately it seems that the decision has come down to Kane, who has decided to part ways with his boyhood club and seek out a fresh challenge in Germany, where he will look to fulfil his ambition of winning trophies both at home and in Europe. 

Harry Kane celebrates scoring against Bayern Munich in the Champions League
Photo by Icon Sport

Attention now turns to how Bayern manager Thomas Tuchel will look to utilise the England captain, who is set to take the No. 9 shirt at the Allianz Arena; and which systems Bayern will play with this season as they aim to continue their domestic dominance, and rise back to the top of the European game. 

How Will Bayern Line Up With Kane?

Harry Kane is a glorious footballer, but there’s no debate around where he’s going to play – Bayern are not payinga club record fee in order to stick him on the wing. 

As such, the question around how they utilise him is less about what position he plays, and more to do with the players around him and the system that Tuchel utilises. 

Plan A

Harry Kane leads the line in what we expect Tuchel's first choice formation to be
Plan A: 4-2-3-1

Since Thomas Tuchel has come in at Bayern, he’s mostly stuck to a 4-2-3-1 shape, playing with an out-and-out No. 9 – mostly in the form of Eric Maxim Choupo Moting or Mathys Tel – and then allowing two wingers and a No. 10 the creative freedom behind him to provide the main thrust of Bayern’s attacking threat. 

This is the system that Harry Kane is expected to slot into, linking up with Jamal Musiala, who has now made that spot behind the striker his own, in order to create opportunities in the opposition third. 

It gives Kane various players to link with, with three other forward options playing around him as well as the full backs bombing on in support, and would allow Bayern to play the neat interchanges around the box that Kane is so useful in providing. 

Kane would, though, be expected to be more of a penalty box threat in this kind of system, as opposed to the all-round striker we’ve come to take for granted at Tottenham. This is not an issue – Kane’s goalscoring record speaks for itself, but it’s worth considering in terms of looking at alternatives.  

The Midfield Three

Harry Kane at the tip of a Bayern 4-3-3 formation
4-3-3: More defensively minded, more space for Kane to roam

There are some questions about that plan that are yet to be answered now that Kane is on the brink of joining the club though. 

One of Kane’s major strengths at Tottenham was his ability to drop in deep and link play, getting his wingers into dangerous areas by dragging central defenders into unfamiliar areas of the pitch and opening up space behind them.

Whilst there’s no guarantee he’ll be asked to do the same thing at Bayern, there is a potential conflict of space that might occur with a player like Jamal Musiala or Thomas Muller playing directly in behind Kane, where they might just end up occupying the same spaces of the pitch. 

If that’s the case, Tuchel might revert to a more standard 4-3-3 shape that gives Kane a bit more room to work with at the top end of the pitch, allowing him to create space for the likes of Leroy Sané, Kingsley Coman, and Serge Gnabry. 

There’s also the possibility that something like this could be used for bigger games in the Champions League, especially away from home, as the midfield three would give Bayern’s defensive line an added layer of protection. 

The Kitchen Sink

Harry Kane in a Bayern Munich 3-2-4-1 formation
3-2-4-1: Could Bayern utilise Pep's template that won the treble?

Tuchel’s relationship with Pep Guardiola is well-documented, and the German has come out to say that whilst he learns from his Catalan rival, he is not a fanboy. They maintain a friendly rivalry, and a mutual respect. 

That said, Tuchel will have undoubtedly thought about the possibility of transmuting elements of Guardiola’s system from last year, especially with the wealth of attacking riches at his disposal. 

With the versatility of Joshua Kimmich in his arsenal as well, there is a feeling that Bayern have all the tools to play a similar system to Pep’s 3-2-4-1, which would help them too to get further attack minded players into the same Starting XI. 

Keep an eye on this – there’s not been much sign of it yet, but Tuchel is too smart of an operator to not be considering using a system that brought City such domestic and European success over the course of the previous season. 

Rewinding the Clock

Harry Kane in a 3-4-2-1 shape at Bayern
3-4-2-1: Tuchel won the Champions League with this system at Chelsea

Tuchel is a pragmatist, so he’s going to try and work out the best system for the players at his disposal, but it would be wrong to discount the systems that have worked for him before. At Chelsea, Tuchel used a 3-4-2-1 shape as the Blues won the Champions League, and he does have the component parts to use it at Bayern as well. 

With De Ligt, Upamecano, and Kim Min-Jae, Tuchel has three high quality centre-backs, and his wing back options have been bolstered by the addition of Raphael Guerreiro from Borussia Dortmund. 

The system might be a tidy fit for Kane as well. Under Mourinho and Conte at Spurs, Kane has played with wing-backs and would have more freedom to express the various facets of his game whilst interchanging with two No 10’s alongside him who would be able to offer runs in behind as well as link up play. 

It’s not something we’ve seen loads of from Tuchel in his Bayern tenure, but it remains a very possible option.