Gelsenkirchen, Germany (SportsNetwork.com) - Real Madrid all but punched its ticket to the quarterfinals of the Champions League on Wednesday as Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale scored two goals apiece in a 6-1 thrashing of Schalke in the first leg of their round of 16 matchup in Germany.
First-half goals from Benzema and Bale in the opening 20 minutes put Madrid in a commanding position at halftime, and the Spanish outfit simply piled more misery on the hosts with a pair of goals from Ronaldo, while Bale and Benzema also found the net again for Madrid.
Former Madrid forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar pulled a goal back in stoppage time for Schalke, but it was little consolation for a team that now faces a mountain to climb in Spain in the second leg on March 18.
Madrid took the game to Schalke from the start and Benzema was in the right place at the right time to collect a deflected pass inside the penalty area and slot his shot past goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann in the 13th minute.
Schalke should have been level one minute later when Julian Draxler was denied at close range by goalkeeper Iker Casillas, while Max Meyer fired the rebound over the net.
From there it was all Madrid as Bale made it 2-0 to the visitors when he picked up a pass from Benzema, danced past two defenders, and drove a shot off the right post and into the net.
Ronaldo added his own touch of class in the 52nd with a beautiful step-over move to beat his defender before he lashed a shot inside the far post.
Benzema made it 4-0 five minutes later after being set up by Ronaldo and Bale scored in the 69th following a well-weighted through ball from Sergio Ramos.
Ronaldo took advantage of a turnover in the Schalke defensive third to notch his second goal of the contest, while Huntelaar scored on a stunning volley in stoppage time, although it was the lone bright spot for his side.
Wednesday's other match was a much tighter affair as Chelsea and Galatasaray played to a 1-1 draw in Turkey.
Fernando Torres had the Blues in front after nine minutes when he scored on a first-time shot from Cesar Azpilicueta's pass.
But the home side equalized in the 64th from a corner kick as Wesley Sneijder's cross to the front of the net found Aurelien Chedjou, who shook free from defender John Terry to head home the tying goal.