Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo scores a goal against Schalke 04 during their Champions League soccer match in Gelsenkirchen February 26, 2014. Photo by Ralph Orlowski, Reuters.
Merciless Real Madrid pounced on a glut of Schalke 04 mistakes as they romped to another 6-1 away win in the Champions League on Wednesday, their second of the season, leaving the ragged Bundesliga side shattered and embarrassed.
The round of 16, first leg bore more resemblance to a playground kickabout than Europe's top club competition as Schalke kept giving the ball away to Real, who simply ran down the other end of the pitch and scored.
Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice each and Real could quite easily have added to their tally against opponents who started promisingly but completely lost their composure after conceding two goals in a disastrous eight-minute first-half spell.
Incredibly, the home fans kept singing until the end and were rewarded when Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar volleyed in from the edge of the area for a stoppage-time consolation.
The result, Schalke's heaviest defeat in European football, was the second embarrassment for the Bundesliga following Bayer Leverkusen's 4-0 humbling at home by Paris St Germain last week.
Real, who also won 6-1 at Galatasaray in the group stage, took their tally in the competition to 26 goals in seven games, 11 of them from Ronaldo.
"We made too many simple mistakes," shattered Schalke coach Jens Keller told ZDF television, his tie undone and his hair flopping to one side.
"We should have equalised straight away to make it 1-1, but it was just mistake after mistake.
"We were brave for the first 12 minutes, then they scored and then they got a second goal after a huge mistake by us. I have a young team who wanted to go forward but we should have been tighter."
"I'm satisfied with everything because that was the perfect game," said Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti.
"My players played with togetherness and they played well. Everything came off for us. The front three all scored twice but they also had the help of their team mates."
It started promisingly for the hosts when Benedikt Hoewedes headed wide from close range in the first minute.
But Real were in front after 13 minutes when Bale was allowed to run unimpeded to the edge of the penalty area where he found Ronaldo, whose backheel slipped through Felipe Santana's legs and fell for Benzema to fire past Ralf Faehrmann.
Schalke's Julian Draxler was denied at point blank-range by Iker Casillas one minute later and Schalke's hopes were effectively killed off with another Santana mishap.
This time, the Brazilian lost possession near the touchline to Benzema who flicked the ball to Bale and the Welshman dribbled cleverly between two defenders to score the second in the 21st minute.
Ronaldo, already impatient to get on the scoresheet himself, hit inside of the post and saw another shot blocked by Faehrmann's outstretched leg as Real began to run riot.
He then fired a free kick into the Schalke wall and did exactly the same on the rebound.
Ronaldo finally got on the scoresheet in the 52nd minute when he was left one-on-one with Joel Matip, performed some trademark stepovers and then flew past the defender before firing past Faehrmann.
Five minutes later, a Schalke cross into the visitors' penalty area was cleared and Real were again allowed to pass their way upfield without any resistance.
Predictably, the move ended with another goal as Benzema found Ronaldo who flicked the ball back to the Frenchman to chip past Faehrmann.
Sergio Ramos sent Bale away for the fifth with 21 minutes still to pay after Schalke lost possession in midfield again.
They still failed to learn the lesson and in the 89th minute, Roman Neustaedter lost the ball in his own half and Benzema quickly set up Ronaldo, who held off Matip and rounded Faehrmann for the sixth.
(Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Rex Gowar)