Karim Benzema scored back-to-back UEFA Champions League hat-tricks as record winners Real Madrid took a big step towards the semi-finals with a 3-1 victory at title-holders Chelsea on Wednesday.

France striker Benzema headed home twice within three minutes midway through the first half.

He completed his treble seconds after the restart owing to a terrible blunder from goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

Benzema had also scored a hat-trick in the previous game Real Madrid won with the same 3-1 scoreline, against Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in the last 16.

Kai Havertz was on target shortly before half-time for the Blues who eliminated Real Madrid in last year’s semi-finals.

They now face an uphill battle next week at the Bernabéu.

“They’re magic nights, like the other day at the Bernabéu against PSG. Today (Wednesday) we came out to win, to show we’re Real Madrid,” Benzema later said.

There was more joy for Spain as Europa League winners Villarreal beat harmless Bayern Munich 1-0 with the goal from Arnaut Danjuma’s early strike.

It was their next upset bid following a last 16 elimination of Juventus.

The other two first leg games were played on Tuesday, with Liverpool well placed winning 3-1 at Benfica while Manchester City edged Atletico Madrid 1-0.

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