<
>

Jupp Heynckes unsurprised by poor Real Madrid form, backs them to beat PSG

play
How a desperate Real Madrid could surprise PSG (1:34)

Despite Real Madrid's persisting struggles, Craig Burley explains why they are capable of rising to the occasion in the Champions League against high-flying PSG. (1:34)

Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes says it is "quite normal" for his former club Real Madrid to be already out of the La Liga race, but adds that their experience in the Champions League makes them favourites against Paris Saint-Germain in their upcoming round-of-16 meeting.

Zinedine Zidane's side sits fourth in the La Liga table, 19 points behind runaway leaders Barcelona, with defensive issues evident in last weekend's 2-2 draw at relegation battlers Levante.

Many Blancos fans and pundits fear their side could suffer badly when PSG's in-form attacking trio Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani come to the Bernabeu for the first leg on Feb. 14.

However, Madrid do have a history of struggling domestically through the first half of the season, and then roaring back into form and winning the Champions League, as happened when Heynckes was in charge in 1997-98, and also under Vicente Del Bosque in both 1999-2000 and 2001-02.

Speaking to Goal.com, he did not sound surprised that Madrid had not been at 100 perfect through the autumn following their successes in recent seasons, but added that the experience within the squad meant that they could focus again quickly when big European nights came around.

"The fact that Real Madrid are 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," Heynckes said.

"You must not write them off in the Champions League. They have much more experience than PSG. 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."

Heynckes put at least some of Madrid's issues this season down to their transfer business last summer, suggesting that concerns over salary levels had seen the squad's back-ups replaced by cheaper youngsters.

"Real have given away three very good players in the summer with Alvaro Morata, Pepe and James Rodriguez, perhaps to save salaries," he said. "They have not bought big players in and thought that with the youngsters they could compensate for that.

"You need a really good mix between young and old, between experienced and hungry players."

Heynckes said there are always cycles in football and that it is difficult for Bayern to compete at the moment as the Premier League club's financial strength could be about to put them back on top again.

"In the Champions League, it will certainly be very difficult [for Bayern], because there are top teams who have greatly improved their squads in the transfer market," he said.

"Recently, Real Madrid have been incredibly successful, before that it was Barcelona in a certain period of time. Bayern Munich were in 2013 and also in previous years. Right now it is said that the Premier League is the best, but the English teams have to prove that now in the knockout phase of the Champions League."