Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo shared six goals between them as Real Madrid eased past Schalke this evening.
Ronaldo returned to the starting XI after completing his three-match ban, as Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos also came in after missing the weekend’s win over Elche. The Bundesliga outfit meanwhile, went with former Madrid striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to lead the line.
Los Blancos had only ever won one European game in Germany in their entire history going into tonight’s match, so were not only playing against Jens Keller’s side, but also history in Gelsenkirchen.
And it was the home team who got off to the brighter start at the Veltins Arena, as captain Benedikt Howedes headed wide from a Max Meyer corner within two minutes.
But the capital club quickly shook off that rusty start and began imposing their own intensity on the match. And it soon paid dividends. A pass from Gareth Bale to Ronaldo was meant as a one-two, but Benzema pounced inside the area and fired past Ralf Fahrmann.
The Santiago Bernabeu outfit were 1-0 up, but they almost conceded an immediate equaliser, only for Iker Casillas to produce a save from the top draw. A cross from Jefferson Farfan found Julian Draxler, but the young midfielder’s six-yard volley went straight into the chest of the goalkeeper.
The Knapen would go on to pay for that miss midway through the half as Bale drifted in from the right-hand side, jinked past two defenders, and poked the ball into the back of the net to double Madrid’s lead.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men were in cruise control now, and so easily could have gone three ahead late on, only for Ronaldo’s effort from the edge of the area to rifle back off the post.
After the break, the hosts once again came out brightly, but they paid for not putting the ball in the back of the net.
Kevin-Prince Boateng and Meyer had efforts, but Ronaldo showed them out it was done by shimmying past Joel Matip, before driving a thunderous shot past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
It really was becoming easy for Los Blancos now, and with their heads down, the away side punished Schalke by making it four soon after. A pass from Ronaldo found Benzema inside the area. The France international then proceeded to round Fahrmann and tap the ball in.
The German hoodoo was well and truly over, and with that monkey off their backs, the visitors were enjoying their football. Sergio Ramos exemplified that as he ambled his way out of defence, upfield, before slotting through Bale to race in on goal. The Wales international made no mistake with the finish, coolly finishing past the keeper.
It was exhibition stuff, and the goals weren’t over just yet, as Benzema fed Ronaldo to jink past Fahrmann and pass into an empty net for six.
The Bundesliga team didn’t deserve to end Iker Casillas’ record of over 900 minutes without conceding, but that’s exactly what they did with virtually the last kick of the game, as Huntelaar volleyed home a delightful effort from the edge of the area for the ultimate consolation strike.
Schalke 1-6 Real Madrid
Scorers: Huntelaar 90 (S); Benzema 13, 57 (RM), Bale 21, 68 (RM), Ronaldo 52, 89 (RM)
Schalke: Fährmann, Höwedes, Santana, Matip, Kolasinac (Fuchs 76), Meyer, Boateng (Goretzka 60), Draxler, Neustädter, Farfán (Obasi 72), Huntelaar.
Real Madrid: Casillas, Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Xabi Alonso (Illarra 73), Modric, Di María (Isco 68), Cristiano Ronaldo, Bale (Jese 80), Benzema