How many Schalke defenders does it take to stop Gareth Bale?
While the 6-1 scoreline of Real Madrid's win over the Bundesliga side on Wednesday evening suggests this question hasn't yet been answered, the first of Bale's two goals in the Champions League matchup indicated the number needed is higher than six.
After taking a pass from teammate Karim Benezma near the edge of the Schalke penalty area in the 21st minute at Veltins Arena, Bale mazed through a phalanx of defenders on his way to a jaw-dropping goal. Three of those defenders immediately attempted to turn away Bale as he broke into the penalty area while another three hovered in close proximity.
With a devastating cutback move, Bale lost one opponent. He then unleashed a mesmerizing right-left dribbling combination to skip clear of a second defender. Having carved out a bit of open green amid the blue shirts, Bale then blazed forward, toward the goal. He took a quick touch with his right foot. With the penalty spot a few steps to his left and six defenders stranded in the penalty area, Bale then laced a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann.
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With Madrid comfortably leading 4-0 in the second half, Bale would score a relatively pedestrian second goal.