Premier League

England stars Kane and Bellingham headline Bayern-Real Madrid battle

England stars Kane and Bellingham headline Bayern-Real Madrid battle

Bayern Munich forward Harry Kane (R) will play his first ever Champions League semi-final on Tuesday (Odd ANDERSEN)

If Harry Kane is to win the Champions League with Bayern Munich and claim a first career trophy, he will have to get past Real Madrid and England teammate Jude Bellingham.

Tuesday's semi-final first leg in the Bavarian capital pits the two England superstars against each other, less than two months out from Euro 2024 kicking off in the same venue.

A decade apart in age, the duo have walked hugely different paths so far in their careers, but have become crucially important to their respective European giants since joining in the summer.

Kane has been the only light to consistently shine in a faltering Bayern side this season.

Less than a year after leaving Germany, Bellingham has established himself alongside Kane and a handful of others as a member of the footballing elite.

And while they will seek to join forces in the summer, they will battle it out on Tuesday to get to Wembley — England's national stadium and the location of this season's Champions League final.

– 'I hope he's quiet' –

Despite a stellar individual career after coming through the youth academy at Tottenham, Kane, 30, moved to Bayern in August, having left England looking to win a first team trophy.

Long underestimated, Kane has eliminated any doubt about his quality among Europe's elite at Bayern this season.

While Xabi Alonso's unbeaten Bayer Leverkusen may have already won the Bundesliga, Kane's 42 goals this season in all competitions is already the most he's struck in a campaign.

Bellingham on the other hand was a teenage prodigy and moved to Borussia Dortmund from hometown club Birmingham in 2020.

A fee of 30 million euros ($31.17 million) made him the most expensive 17-year-old ever. Just three years later, he moved to Madrid from Dortmund for 103 million euros.

While Bellingham's quality was clear when he left Germany, few would have expected him to emerge as one of the best players in the world quite so soon.

Bellingham has carried an injury-hit Madrid through difficult parts of the season and kept them on course for the league title with crucial goals, including late winners in both Clasico fixtures in La Liga.

After scoring a brace in Saturday's 2-1 home win over Eintracht Frankfurt, Kane said he hoped Bellingham had a night off on Tuesday.

"He's a great player, as I've said before," Kane told reporters.

"Of course, he's had an amazing season himself. But from my point of view, I hope he's quiet in the next two games."

Kane and Bellingham were "keeping it professional" and had not spoken before Tuesday's match, but would "catch up before the game and after the game".

– 'A good moment' –

Kane and Bellingham have never faced each other before, but have played alongside one another 22 times, losing just four matches.

The two have struck up an on-field partnership, with Bellingham laying on three assists for Kane at international level.

When Kane skied a late penalty in the 2022 World Cup quarter-final loss to France, Bellingham was the first to console the England captain.

Aged just 19, Bellingham became the youngest ever Bundesliga captain when given the armband for Dortmund last season.

The midfielder is widely expected to take over as England skipper whenever Kane decides to hang up the boots.

But while the two represent the Three Lions' present and future, only one will make it to Wembley.

Kane said he would "hopefully (score) a few" goals against Madrid.

"I'm confident I'm in a good moment and I can put some away," he said.

"I'm looking forward to the atmosphere — the atmosphere against Arsenal (in the quarter-final) was incredible.

"I'm expecting it'll go another level up and I'm quite excited."

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