Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale

It’s been a dominant stretch for away teams in the Champions League, but nothing came close to the 6-1 demolition Real Madrid put over Schalke, as Karim Benzema played what might be his greatest game ever, while Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo each added their own flavor of flair and brilliance to one of the most impressive and one sided matches we’ve seen in the competition for a very long time.

The Schalke defense fell apart early, and missing the few opportunities they could create proved to be too costly for the German side, showing just how big the gap is between a non-Bayern team in the Bundesliga and a Spanish giant like Real Madrid.

Karim Benzema scored the first of two three goals after 13 minutes, which was followed by two excellent chances from Schalke, as Julian Draxler and Max Meyer missed from close range in the 14th minute. That was the last we saw of Schalke and their dangerous chances until the beautiful Huntelaar volley in the closing minutes, the best goal of the match but one that didn’t mean anything eventually.

In between those chances and that goal came a lot of atrocious defending and a midfield unit that couldn’t understand that at some point they need to start closing down space, or simply didn’t get the right instructions from their manager.

So we got a brilliant dribble from Gareth Bale en route to his third goal in the Champions League this season. And in the second half Gareth Bale helping Cristiano Ronaldo finally finding the net after a frustrating first half for him, making it to 10 goals this season in the competition. And Karim Benzema scored his second of the match after a beautiful flick from Cristiano Ronaldo, a favor he repaid him in the 89th minute after Gareth Bale scored his second goal to make it 5-0 after 69 minutes.

Bottom line? Real Madrid are the hottest team in Spain and Europe at the moment, with two 6-1 wins this season in the competition, both coming away from home. Although they aren’t the only team to make a huge step towards the quarterfinals, they are the only team that looked so impressive doing it, and are 100% in the next stage.

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