Real Madrid put a stop to their German drought in style with an emphatic 6-1 victory over Schalke in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie.
The Spanish giants had not won in their last 10 visits to Germany but were comfortable winners at the Veltins-Arena with two goals each for Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo ensuring Carlo Ancelotti's men take a convincing five-goal lead going into the second leg at the Bernabeu.
The Madrid attack of Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale caused Schalke endless problems from the beginning and it was some neat build up play from the two richest players in the world which allowed Benzema to fire home the opener from close range after just 13 minutes.
Bale doubled the visitor's advantage eight minutes later with a stunning finish after beating three defenders and striking the ball with the outside of his boot beyond the reach of the goalkeeper.
Ronaldo went close several times in the first-half but just seven minutes after the restart the Portugal star finally got his name on the score-sheet - his 31st goal in just 25 Champions League games - performing a couple of step-overs before drilling the ball into the top corner.
Ronaldo was involved in the visitor's fourth goal on 57 minutes when he turned creator once more to release Benzema for his second of the evening.
Goal number five came on 69 minutes when a defence splitting pass from Sergio Ramos found Bale behind the Schalke defence and the Welshman made no mistake, coolly slotting it past Ralf Fahrmann in the home goal.
Madrid's rout was completed on 89 minutes when Isco won the ball in midfield, found Benzema who found Ronaldo with a through ball and he rounded the keeper before passing the ball into an empty net.
The goal of the night came from the home side though and, with the Schalke fans in tremendous voice all night despite the circumstances, they finally had something to cheer about when former Real Madrid striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar caught a cross with a wonderful half volley which found the top of the net.
PRE-MATCH: Ronaldo returns to the Real Madrid starting line-up after missing the previous three league matches.
13' - GOAL! 0-1! Benzema rattles in his 19th goal of the season and it's inspired by Bale! The Welsh wizard jinx forwards, plays a one-two with Ronaldo, the ball ends up with Benzema who makes no mistake with a concise finish.
14' - CHANCE! Great stop! Draxler should score but a wonderful save from Casillas denies the forward who latches onto a cross but hits straight at the goalkeeper from close range!
21' - GOAL! 0-2! A stunning finish from Bale who beats three Schalke defenders before striking the ball with the outside of his boot beyond the reach of the goalkeeper.
53' - GOAL! 0-3! And Ronaldo finally has his goal! Bale passes to Ronaldo who finds Matip on his own at the edge of the box, he sells the defender a couple of step-overs before hammering the ball into the net.
57' - GOAL! 0-4! Benzema makes it four! One-two played with Ronaldo, the French man runs onto the return and he buries the ball into the back of the net.
69' - GOAL! 0-5! Ramos plays a defence splitting pass which Bale runs onto before slotting home. Easy.
89' - GOAL! 0-6! This is incredible! Ronaldo adds his second after Isco wins the ball in midfield, passes to Benzema who lays off Ronaldo to round the keeper and finish coolly.
90' - GOAL! 1-6! The wonderful Schalke fans have a goal to cheer! Huntelaar catches a cross superbly to bury the ball into the top corner with a first time volley! Goal of the night!
Cristiano Ronaldo now has scored 31 goals in his last 25 Champions League games.
Six of Gareth Bale's eight Champions League goals have come away from home.
Prior to kick-off, Real Madrid hadn't won in Germany in their last 10 visits and had just won one of their last 25 matches.
TALKING POINT: Can anyone stop Real Madrid? Bayern Munich and Barcelona were both strong in their first leg encounters but no one looked quite impressive as Real Madrid did tonight. With a front three of Bale, Ronaldo and Benzema, Ancelotti's men will be very difficult to stop. The Italian coach admitted before the match that Madrid are obsessed with lifting a 10th European Cup and this could be their year. Spare a thought for poor Schalke who must now travel to Spain trailing by five goals.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Gareth Bale (Real Madrid): There's just too many in a white shirt to choose from but the former Spurs man probably pips the others for the award tonight. He looked so dangerous every time he came forward, showing tremendous pace and strength throughout. His first goal was simply stunning.
Schalke: Fährmann 5, Höwedes 6, Matip 5, Santana 6, Kolasinac 5, Boateng 5, Neustädter 5, Farfan 5, Meyer 5, Draxler 6, Huntelaar 6. Subs: Goretzka 5, Obasi 6, Fuchs 5.
Real Madrid: Casillas 7; Carvajal 7, Pepe 7, Ramos 7, Marcelo 8, Modric 7, Alonso 7, Di María 7; Bale 9, Benzema, 9 Ronaldo, 9. Subs: Jesé, 6 Isco 6, Ilarramendi 6.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Real Madrid
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Gareth Bale
- Karim Benzema