Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira has warned against underestimating Galatasaray as his side prepare to take on the Turkish Champions in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Fatih Terim’s men have grabbed the headlines of late as they followed up the acquisitions of Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba in January by beating Schalke 4-3 on aggregate to reach the last eight for the first time in 12 years.
However, Khedira is also wary of in-form striker Burak Yilmaz, who is the joint top-scorer in the Champions League with eight goals in just seven starts.
“They have recruited very well and it is never easy against Turkish teams because they always play with a lot of passion,” he told Champions Magazine.
“Drogba and Sneijder are players of the highest level but they have also worked well as a team. They have Yilmaz in attack, who has continuously scored goals, and a great defence.
“They are very strong and we cannot underestimate them. If we do, we could be eliminated,” he added.
Madrid are though clear favourites for the tie and indeed are favoured, along with Barcelona, to lift the trophy for the 10th time at Wembley in May.
To get to the British capital, though, there is a strong chance that Khedira could face some of his international colleagues, as Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have also reached the last eight.
Bayern eliminated Madrid in last season’s semi-finals and the German international is not surprised by the success of Bundesliga sides in this year’s competition.
He said: “It is not a question of coincidence or luck. Schalke nearly reached the quarter-finals but they have little experience at this level. Dortmund and Bayern are very strong and play very well at the European level.
“I think this owes a lot to the development of German football. The academies and the league offer a very good footballing education.
“The German sides have struggled for some years but in the last few seasons they have tried to consistently improve. I think this is bearing fruit thanks to good tactics, discipline and great players.”