Real Madrid put one foot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a comfortable 2-0 win over Schalke in the Veltins-Arena.
Goals in either half from Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo were enough to see the defending champions secure a commanding lead to take back to Madrid for the second leg in three weeks time.
The first ten minutes were mostly played in the Schalke half with Real enjoying a lot of possession but Schalke's defensive shape was solid and Real were unable to create any openings.
Schalke were awarded a dangerous free kick on fourteen minutes when Lucas Silva, making his Champions League debut, was late when attempting to tackle Marco Hoger outside the box. Dennis Aogo hit a weak effort into the wall which brought shouts for a penalty from the home fans but the referee rightly waved play on with replays showing there was no hand ball.
On eighteen minutes Lucas Silva tried his luck from distance but his shot dragged well wide with several team mates better placed.
Schalke were defending well and were beginning to show a little more confidence in attack and wasted a good chance on twenty minutes. After good link up play on the right involving Kevin Prince Boateng and Eric Choupo-Moting the ball was worked left to Aogo who was running on to the ball but his shot was terrible and went high and wide of the crossbar.
Schalke went close again on twenty-five minutes, forcing a good save from Iker Casillas. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar picked up the ball in the middle of the Real Madrid half and managed to hold off Toni Kroos before unleashing a lot shot from twenty-five yards which Casillas had to dive low to his left to turn away from goal.
Just a minute later Real Madrid took the lead. Dani Carvajal picked the ball up the right before cutting inside and crossing with his left foot. Cristiano Ronaldo got away from Joel Matip and met the cross with a header that went past the young Timon Wellenreuther in the Schalke goal. It was Real's first real chance although they had enjoyed the majority of possession.
Real almost doubled their lead on thirty-one minutes when Karim Benzema beat the offside trap to receive a pass from Toni Kroos. His low shot was straight at the keeper though and Wellenreuther was able to gather at the second time of asking after making the initial save with his leg.
Schalke were dealt a further blow a minute later when their Dutch international striker, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar had to go off injured and he was replaced by nineteen year old, Felix Platte.
Real had another chance on thirty-five minutes when they were awarded a free-kick just outside the box after a Kevin Prince Boateng foul that also means the Ghanian misses the second leg after receiving a booking. Ronaldo took the free kick and managed to get it on target but Wellenreuther got across well to make an acrobatic save.
Real continued to enjoy the majority of possession for the remainder of the first half but Schalke defended well and the teams went in at half time with Real leading 1-0.
The second half began the same way with Real enjoying plenty of possession but Schalke were disciplined in defence with a bank of five defenders then three midfielders frustrating Real Madrid.
On their rare flurries into the Real half Schalke were finding it harder to make the ball stick and Real were able to win the ball back a lot easier than they had been in the first half.
Schalke did have a half chance on sixty-seven minutes when Hoger got behind Marcelo but he took the ball to the by line before attempting to cross but his cross hit the outside of Casillas' post although the Spaniard had it well covered.
Real could have went 2-0 up on seventy-two minutes when Isco combined with Gareth Bale on the edge of the area to create an opening for Isco. However, the Spaniard rushed his shot and it went over Wellenreuther's bar.
Schalke had a fantastic chance to equalise two minutes later when after a good passing move the ball was played up to Atsuto Uchida who laid it back to Platte. The young substitute hit a vicious right footed shot off the cross bar and the rebound fell to Uchida but the ball wouldn't come down for him and Casillas was able to save his weak effort.
That chance seemed to spark Real into life and they doubled their lead on seventy-nine minutes. Ronaldo picked up the ball on the left and beat two defenders before passing to Marcelo who took the ball onto his right foot before rifling a shot past Wellenreuther into the top corner. It was a sublime finish from the Brazilian to give Real a cushion in the tie.
By this time Real were content with their nights work and were happy to retain possession and try as they did Schalke were unable to cause any problems for Carlo Ancelotti's side in the remaining minutes and the game ended 2-0.
Ancelotti will be delighted with a very professional display from his side and only a miracle will see anything other than another quarter-final for his Real Madrid team.
For Schalke manager, Roberto Di Matteo it was a night of what might have been. They started the game well before conceding a sloppy goal and if Platte's shot had gone in just before Marcelo's goal things may have been different for the Germans. As it was it wasn't to be and Di Matteo will know that his team face an impossible task to turn the tie around at the Bernabeu in three weeks time.