Real Madrid have moved a step closer to the Champions League semifinals, polishing off visitors Borussia Dortmund 3-0 in the first leg. In the competition's other match of the night, Paris St Germain beat Chelsea 3-1.
A quarterfinal pairing with Madrid was never going to be Dortmund's dream tie in their hunt for a place in the semifinals.
With last year's beaten finalists so hampered by injuries and suspensions, the task was made all the more arduous.
Six of Dortmund's first-string players were unavailable, with the absence of suspended Robert Lewandowski - a four-time scorer in the teams' semifinal first leg last season - particularly notable in the quest for precious away goals. What chances the Germans did have, were squandered.
Dortmund started out positively with the first attack of the game and briefly seemed as though they would get a foothold in the game.
But then Madrid came forward.
In only the third minute, a piece of trickery from Karim Benzema on the right wing found right back Daniel Carvajal running into the box. The Spaniard's pass found Gareth Bale, who prodded it past an oncoming Roman Weidenfeller.
From then on Madrid didn't let up, putting the Dortmund box under siege mercilessly; Bale, Isco and Fabio Coentrao - not to mention Cristiano Ronaldo - all had chances to extend the lead.
Ronaldo finished in style for his 14th in the tournament this season, equalling a competition record
Just before they doubled the tally, Madrid's dominance was underlined by their number of shots on goal - eight compared with Dortmund's one.
Misfortune follows the 'brave'
It was a piece of "brave" play from Dortmund's Henrikh Mkhitaryan, dribbling out of his own defensive third, that allowed Madrid to record their second of the night after 27 minutes. Midfielder Isco, standing in for a sick Angel di Maria, picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box after Mkhitaryan was dispossessed - rolling the ball coolly into the left side of Roman Weidenfeller's goal.
The Madrid chances kept coming, notably with Bale being denied his second of the evening as his dipping free kick was put behind by Weidenfeller - who had earlier appeared to be injured - on the half hour mark.
Dortmund rode their luck, Madrid's sorties forward continued. A bright moment came on 32 minutes as Kevin Grosskreutz broke forward to lash the ball at keeper Iker Casillas, who had it covered.
If anything though, the next goal looked likely to go to the Spanish side, and it was something of a surprise they did not go in at half time more than two goals ahead.
Borussia Dormund started the second half more promisingly, with some more solid attacking moves that almost caught Madrid napping.
Marco Reus, in particular, came into his own, coming forward with renewed energy. A pass right three minutes into the second half found forward Pierre Emerick Aubameyang bearing down on Casillas' goal - only for the Gabonese to drag the shot hopelessly wide.
Chances at either end
Dortmund almost caught Madrid on the break in the 56th minute, Mkhitaryan shooting from 12 yards to have his effort defelected.
Real, still far superior, had other ideas as the impressive Luka Modric found Cristiano Ronaldo going forward a minute later. The Portuguese stormed into a gap between Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Erik Durm and shuffled deceptively in front of Weidenfeller, sublimely finishing with his left.
Lewandowski had been the scourge of Real Madrid in last year's semifinal, scoring four times against the Spaniards
Mkhitaryan almost found the goal immediately after, after Casillas spilled a Dortmund cross in his path, but it was blocked by Pepe. It was too little too late for the Armenian, who was substituted five minutes later for attacking midfielder Jonas Hofmann.
Dortmund kept pushing for the elusive away goal, but it just didn’t come. Instead, Carlo Ancelotti's men again came close as Benzema hit a half volley from the edge of the box, tipped over by Weidenfeller, but the score remained 3-0 as the final whistle blew.
"We conceded the goals, we were not compact enough and left big spaces between the lines, as big as I have ever seen them," said Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp. "The goal came early and that did not help, although you expect Real to score at home."
In the other quarterfinal first leg, Paris Saint Germain beat a visiting Chelsea side 3-1. The French side were first to score at the Stade de France, with Ezequiel Lavezzi pouncing onto a headed clearance from Chelsea defender John Terry. Eden Hazard nicked the away goal for Chelsea, but a David Luiz own goal and a solo effort from sub Javier Pastore made PSG the worthy winners, ending the match 3-1.
The second legs of both matches will be played on April 8.