Real Madrid's attacking stars aligned as they demolished Schalke 6-1 in Germany to all but secure a Champions League quarter-final place.
History did not provide much inspiration for the Spanish giants, who had won on only one of their last 25 visits to face German opposition in UEFA competition, but their forwards were in imperious form at the Veltins Arena to give them what, barring a minor miracle, will prove an unassailable advantage to take into the second leg.
Karim Benzema gave them the lead with an emphatic 13th-minute finish and although Julian Draxler and Max Meyer then missed in quick succession for the hosts, Real were in control.
A second arrived through Gareth Bale, with the world's most expensive player netting a delightful solo goal before Cristiano Ronaldo - back in the side after a domestic three-match ban - scored his 10th Champions League goal of the season.
Benzema added his second of the day to make it 4-0 and then Bale scored again with just over 20 minutes remaining.
There was even still time for more late drama as Ronaldo scored his second of the night and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar gave the Germans what was scant consolation.
Schalke coach Jens Keller had spoken in the build-up about the Germans' need to be "brave" against a side he ranks as arguably the second best in the world - behind Schalke's Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich - but there was little his side could do about Real's opener.
Ronaldo's attempted backheeled pass was deflected into the area for Benzema and the Frenchman coolly slotted past Ralf Fahrmann to give the visitors a perfect start.
Schalke should have levelled a minute later, however.
Draxler darted in behind the Real defence to direct Jefferson Farfan’s right-wing cross past Casillas, but the Spaniard launched himself across goal to palm it away, before Meyer blazed the rebound over.
Real made the most of that let-off and doubled their lead 21 minutes in, with Bale showing his class.
After cutting in from the right, the Welshman cleverly slalomed his way between Felipe Santana and Sead Kolasinac before squeezing a shot into the bottom-right corner, capping a wonderful solo run.
Ronaldo almost made it 3-0 just after the half-hour mark, but after jolting past Kolasinac and shooting from 20 yards, his low drive came back off Fahrmann’s right-hand post.
Ronaldo finally got a deserved goal in the 52nd minute and he netted in style as the Ballon d'Or winner dazzled Joel Matip with three stepovers before charging into the area and rifling in a left-footed effort.
A fourth arrived just five minutes later as Benzema doubled his tally for the match, passing into an empty net after playing a one-two with Ronaldo and bursting around Fahrmann, but things soon got even worse for the hosts.
With 21 minutes remaining, Bale raced on to an intricate throughball from Sergio Ramos and confidently caressed the ball past the goalkeeper with his left foot.
The visitors added a sixth for good measure as Ronaldo latched on to Benzema's pass, skipped past Fahrmann and passed home.
There was still time for Schalke to get a consolation as Huntelaar fired in a superb volleyed effort from the edge of the area, but Real had already long since killed off the tie.
|25||K. Huntelaar||72' 90+1'|
|Coach: J. Keller|
for K. Boateng 59'
for J. Farfán 72'
for S. Kolašinac 76'
|Maicon disappointed at dropping points|
|Luis Enrique upbeat despite defeat|
|Draw would have been fair - Silva|
|Record-breaker Totti rues Manchester misses|
|Keller: My Schalke players are shattered|
|Championship Review: Norwich beaten, McKinlay off to winning start|
|Champions League centurion Terry proud of achievement|
|Luiz hopes Barca win can kickstart PSG season|
|Crewe Alexandra 0 Notts County 3: Cassidy brace sinks basement boys|
|Aberdeen 2 St Mirren 2: Struggling visitors fight back|
|Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Porto 2: Martinez´s late double salvages dramatic draw|
|Slutsky shrugs off possession statistic|
|Manchester City 1 Roma 1: Evergreen Totti pegs back City|
|APOEL 1 Ajax 1: Manduca rescues point for hosts|
|Schalke 1 Maribor 1: Slovenian underdogs hold firm in Germany|
|BATE 2 Athletic Bilbao 1: Hosts secure first victory over Spanish side|
|Paris Saint-Germain 3 Barcelona 2: Luis Enrique tastes defeat as Xavi makes history|
|Sporting Lisbon 0 Chelsea 1: Matic returns to haunt old rivals|
|K. League Preview: Jeonbuk´s leadership under threat|
|Inter v Qarabag: Mazzarri looking for response|
|Guardiola unimpressed by empty Arena Khimki|
|Krasnodar v Everton: Martinez´s men may be handed triple boost|
|Arabian Gulf League Review: Al Wahda held, Al Shabab win again|
|Schmidt: Leverkusen must match Benfica aggression|
|CSKA Moscow 0 Bayern Munich 1: Century up for German giants|
|Al Ain 2 Al Hilal 1 (agg 2-4): Saudis make final as Gyan sees red|
|Romulo sidelined following hernia surgery|
|Sturridge to miss Basle clash|
|Everton pessimistic over Mirallas injury|
|UEFA Europa League Preview: Mazzarri demands Inter fight, Hecking eyes improvement|
|Ancelotti: Ronaldo an example for everyone|
|Evans returns to Northern Ireland squad|
|Simeone earmarks ´extraordinary´ Tevez as Juve´s dangerman|
|Kitchee 1 Erbil 2 (agg 2-3): Early goals see visitors through|
|Herrera sustains fractured rib|
|Tottenham v Besiktas: Kaboul calling for more of the same|
|Scotland call up debutants Gauld and May|
|Ramsey out for up to four weeks|
|Giroud deal done - Wenger|
|Hull City challenge FA over name change ruling|
|Rooney impressed with McNair|
|Luiz: I nearly joined Barca|
|Persipura 0 Al Qadsia 6 (agg 2-10): Visitors coast into final|
|Blanc wary of ´exceptional´ Messi|
|Dawson extends Albion deal|
|Mourinho open to move within Premier League|
|Top four the priority - Van Persie|
|Liga MX Preview: Queretaro braced for Atlas challenge|
|Copa Sudamericana Preview: Sao Paulo out to arrest slump|
|MLS Preview: DC United ready to grind, Revolution host Crew|
|Argentine Primera Division Review: Newell´s unbeaten run ends|
|Mignolet shrugs Valdes, Liverpool link|
|Neville blames transfers for Newcastle form|
|Mathieu applauds Messi, Neymar partnership|
|Mignolet must improve - Carragher|
|Cole hails Lampard|
|Villa may miss opener in Australia|
|Hughes thrilled with ´deserved´ home win|
|Pardew fears for future|
|Serie A Review: Djordjevic treble fires Lazio to Palermo win|
|Pardew facing ´serious conversations´ with Ashley|
|Pacos de Ferreira 2 Belenenses 0: Hosts off the mark on home turf|
|Stoke City 1 Newcastle United 0: Crouch deepens gloom for visitors|
|Garcia embracing underdogs tag|
|Turkish Super Lig Review: Gekas double sinks Fenerbahce|
|Bayer Leverkusen v Benfica: Schmidt´s men seek goalscoring touch|
|Costa to start against Sporting|
|Russian Premier League Review: CSKA edge Ural thriller to close gap on Zenit|
|Ludogorets v Real Madrid: Holders out to avoid slip-up in Sofia|
|Malmo v Olympiacos: Roberto insists no hangover for visitors|
|Championship Preview: McKinlay in at Watford, Norwich host unbeaten Charlton|
|Luis Enrique expecting stern PSG test|
|Atletico Madrid v Juventus: Opening defeat puts pressure on hosts|
|Bruce staying positive despite winless run|
|Police investigating Van Dijk racism claims|
|Hazard dreaming of Champions League glory|
|Santos goes to Goa|
|Double delight for Al-Garni|
|Basel v Liverpool: Rodgers hopeful on Sturridge return|
|Arsenal v Galatasaray: Wenger facing selection headache|
|Blanc calling on others to cover for Ibrahimovic absence|
|Zenit v Monaco: Jardim sticking with style|
|Ibrahimovic out of Barca clash|
|Lucescu happy to host Porto in Lviv|
|Hart looking to bounce back against Roma|
|McKinlay replaces Garcia at Watford|
|Anderlecht v Borussia Dortmund: Hasi expecting tough test|
|Sunderland not panicking, says Jones|
|Pelle hopes for Italy call|
|Slutsky well aware of Bayern strength|
|Guardiola entering unchartered territory|
|Arsenal have a point to prove against Chelsea - Oxlade-Chamberlain|
|Irvine hails Lescott impact|
|Carlos backs Ancelotti to defend crown|
|Montoya replaces injured Douglas|
|Pearce wants permanent Hunt deal|
|Nolan targets top 10|
|Mangala reaction pleases Kompany|
|Dyche keen to emulate West Brom example|
|Irvine happy to see Hawthorns rocking again|
|San Siro ´isn´t enough anymore´ for Milan|
|Redknapp calls for temporary subs|
|Western Sydney Wanderers v Seoul: A-League side look to continue dream run|
|Hazard rules out PSG switch|
|MLS Review: Keane scores twice in Galaxy romp|
|Costa Rican Primera Division Review: Five-star Alajuelense extend streak|
|Colombian Primera A Review: Medellin held, Santa Fe go top|
|Liga del Futbol Profesional Boliviano Review: Wilstermann remain top|
|Napoli rewarded for team effort - Benitez|
|Liga MX Review: Layun scores four, Monterrey leapfrog Atlas|
|Paraguayan Division Profesional Review: 15-year-old Diaz is Cerro´s hero|
|Uruguayan Primera Division Review: Racing leave it late, Recoba scores from a corner|
|Brazilian Serie A Review: Gremio´s resurgence continues|
|Venezuelan Primera Division Review: Leaders held, Tucanes win again|
|Referee got it right - Rooney|
|Peruvian Primera Division Review: Melgar stay perfect|
|Bielsa: Marseille always in control|
|Newcastle will offer Tiote new deal - Pardew|
|Shakhtar Donetsk v Porto: Lucescu looks to maintain impressive home record|
|Ligue 1 Review: Marseille, Bordeaux continue fine starts|