Bayern's Harry Kane, left, challenges for the ball with Cologne's...

Bayern's Harry Kane, left, challenges for the ball with Cologne's Julian Chabot during the German Bundesliga soccer match between 1.FC Cologne and Bayern Munich in Cologne, Germany, Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. Credit: AP/Martin Meissner

BERLIN — Harry Kane scored yet again Friday to lead Bayern Munich to the top of the Bundesliga with a 1-0 win at Cologne.

No other player has ever scored 18 goals in the first 12 rounds of the Bundesliga, while Kane also became the first English player to reach 18 goals in a single Bundesliga season, overtaking the 17 scored both by Jadon Sancho for Borussia Dortmund (2019-20) and Kevin Keegan for Hamburger SV (1978-79).

From Bayern's point of view, Kane's goal put the pressure on early season leader Bayer Leverkusen, which can reclaim first place Saturday with a win at Werder Bremen.

But Bayern, the 11-time defending champion, missed several opportunities to put the result beyond doubt and had to endure unnecessarily nervy final minutes in Cologne, where Jamal Musiala scored late on the final day last season to snatch the title from Dortmund.

“One-nil, we probably know we could have scored a couple more in the first half but, really, a great victory,” Kane said.

Thomas Müller had to be content to watch from the sideline again Friday as coach Thomas Tuchel opted for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting in support of star forward Kane. It was the eighth league game in which the Bayern veteran sat among the substitutes – this time for the whole match.

Müller hasn’t started in any of Bayern’s four Champions League games so far, while the only time he played a full match this season was in Bayern’s shock 2-1 loss to third-division team Saarbrücken in the German Cup.

Bayern's Harry Kane celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal...

Bayern's Harry Kane celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between 1.FC Cologne and Bayern Munich in Cologne, Germany, Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. Credit: AP/Rolf Vennenbernd

Bayern almost scored when Cologne defender Timo Hübers deflected the ball against his own post, but the visitors didn’t have to wait long for Kane to strike in the 20th minute.

It came on a counterattack when Choupo-Moting's shot was cleared off the line by Julian Chabot – but only as far as Kane, who gratefully sent the ball inside the right post.

“It was a nice one that fell to me, probably one of the easier ones I'll score in my career,” Kane said. “But that first half, we created some really good chances, some clear chances. It was just unlucky, a few bobbles on the pitch.”

Cologne ’keeper Marvin Schwäbe got the better of Leroy Sané, who was frustrated again in the second half. Kingsley Coman also struck the crossbar with a header for Bayern.

Bayern's Harry Kane celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal...

Bayern's Harry Kane celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between 1.FC Cologne and Bayern Munich in Cologne, Germany, Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. Credit: AP/Rolf Vennenbernd

Tuchel made no changes at all during the game despite complaining about the burden on players playing so soon after returning from international duty.

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