By Stefan Doring
Former Germany international Christian Worns believes that Paris Saint-Germain are at the same level as Champions League holders Bayern Munich and is confident they can go all the way this season in European club football's elite competition.
PSG meet Leverkusen in the round of 16, with the first leg scheduled to take place at the BayArena on Tuesday evening, and Worns is eagerly anticipating the tie between two of his old teams.
"There is not much difference between Bayern Munich and PSG when you look at their players. Paris are a great team with a lot of high-profile names," Worns told Goal.
"They don't have to fear any opponent in Europe. They are one of the dark horses in this competition. They can beat any opponent when they have a good day."
The 41-year-old singled out Zlatan Ibrahimovic as PSG's main dangerman and stressed that Leverkusen cannot afford to allow the Sweden international any space if they are to be successful.
"It is very difficult to come up with a tactic to stop Ibrahimovic. He is very strong physically, has amazing technique and he's a real aerial threat as well. He is the complete striker.
"The only way to stop him is by defending as a team. You have to double up on him and make sure his team-mates can't reach him.
"Then again, PSG have a lot of world-class players in other positions, too."
Nevertheless, Worns is adamant that Leverkusen have what it takes to trouble the French giants.
"I think Leverkusen can spring a surprise. PSG have spent big and have some amazing players, but Bayer are competitive.
"They play as a unit and are very compact and efficient. Their players know what's expected of them. They sit second in the Bundesliga table for a reason.
"Of course, PSG have the bigger names, but let's not underrate players like Stefan Kiessling, Sidney Sam and Heung-Min Son. They might not be at Ibrahimovic or [Edinson] Cavani's level, but they are good players as well."
Leverkusen have not made it past the last 16 of the Champions League since the 2001-02 season when they eventually lost 2-1 in the final against Real Madrid at Hampden Park.