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When the Champions League draw took place last month, soccer fans around the world, especially the neutrals, were hoping and praying for some incredible matchups. They were awarded with plenty, but none in the group stage bigger than Bayern Munich vs. Barcelona. Two giants of the sport, each among the five most successful teams in the history of the competition, square off on Tuesday in Munich on Paramount+. And while there are plenty of storylines such as the 8-2 Bayern win in 2020 or the Bavarians crushing Barca 3-0 in both legs last season, this one is all about one man and one man only: Robert Lewandowski. 

How to watch and odds

  • Date: Tuesday, Sept. 13 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
  • Location: Allianz Arena -- Munich, Germany
  • Live stream: Paramount+
  • Odds: Bayern Munich -115; Draw +325; Barcelona +255 (via Caesars Sportsbook) 

The Bayern Munich legend, who won it all with the German club, returns to the city where he dominated for so long, this time as a member of Barcelona. Lewandowski, 34, has the third-most UCL hat tricks in history behind only two guys you may have heard of: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. 

In his first season with Barca, he couldn't have asked for a better start. He didn't score in the season opener against Rayo Vallecano, but has found the back of the net in the five games since. He has nine goals already, including three against Viktoria Plzen last week on Matchday 1. His return will certainly be must-see TV. According to his manager Xavi, he's well rested after playing just 33 minutes over the weekend, still managing to score a goal.

"Robert is great. He's calm, relaxed, he's confident. He's a natural leader for us," Xavi said in his prematch press conference. "It'll be a special game for him, and he'll be motivated. I rested him the other day so he's fresh. We're in a good moment but often that doesn't mean anything. [Tuesday] we will try to show our personality and compete against one of the best teams in the world."

Bayern manager Julian Nagelsmann may have coached Lewandowski for only one season, but he knows what he is up against. After all, Lewandowski under Nagelsmann scored 50 goals in 46 matches for Bayern last season.

"If I see him [Tuesday], I will shake his hand. I'd be happy if our fans welcomed him well," Nagelsmann said ahead of the match. "That's normal when someone has given so much for the club. That's how things should be. I don't know if Lewy is their most dangerous player, but I'm sure he's their biggest goal threat. But if he doesn't get the ball, it will be difficult for him to score."

It's going to be a tall task for either side. This is a rejuvenated Barcelona side with all its summer signings, headlined by Lewandowski. Bayern, on the other hand, have been inconsistent. They looked sharp in the 2-0 win at Inter Milan last Wednesday, but they've drawn three Bundesliga matches in a row. 

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If Barcelona are to pull off any upset on the road, it does feel like Lewandowski will have to find the net. Bayern, meanwhile, will aim to do everything they can to make sure he does find an inch of room to breathe.