Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes has backed Real Madrid to beat Paris-Saint Germain when the sides meet in the Champions League knockout phases later this month.

PSG sit 11 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 while Real Madrid are fourth in La Liga, 19 points behind leaders Barcelona and just two points above fifth-placed Villarreal.

Despite this, the veteran manager, whose Bayern side finished second in the group stage behind PSG – though registered a home win against the French giants – believes Madrid have what it takes to beat Unai Emery’s side over two legs, regardless of form.

“That Madrid is going through a low in the league at the moment is, in my opinion, quite normal, especially if you have won the Champions League twice and been Spanish champions too,” he told Goal.

“In addition, Real have given away three very good players in the summer with Alvaro Morata, Pepe and James Rodriguez, perhaps to save salaries.”

Real Madrid are back-to-back defending European Champions.

He continued: “They have not bought big and thought that with the young players they can compensate for that. You need a really good mix between young and old, between experienced and hungry players.

“Nevertheless, you must not write off Real in the Champions League. They have much more experience than Paris Saint-Germain. Much more! I believe they will win the tie.

“They have a good team for playing in European competition. When we first won the Champions League again in 1998, we finished fourth in the league. I know from personal experience Madrid should never be underestimated.”

The teams’ respective campaigns in numbers

Both sides possess more quality than most of Europe put together, so why are Paris Saint-Germain flourishing and Real Madrid floundering in their respective domestic leagues this season?

As illustrated by the graphic above, Madrid are actually creating more chances per 90 minutes in La Liga than PSG are in Ligue 1, but PSG are outscoring Madrid.

What’s more is that PSG’s key player, Neymar, is enjoying a far more productive season than Madrid’s talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo. Neymar has scored over double the amount of goals Ronaldo has per 90 – the same goes for chances created.

If Madrid are to beat PSG over two legs, they are going to need an in-form Ronaldo to influence the contest.

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Steve Jennings