The English side take a comfortable two-goal cushion into their home leg as Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney put United on the brink of the final.
Manchester United outclass Schalke to close in on Champions League final
Schalke 0 // Manchester United 2
GELSENKIRCHEN // Manchester United outclassed Schalke in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final, with goals from Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney securing a 2-0 win for the visiting English side.
United missed a hatful of chances in a one-sided first half, with Manuel Neuer, the Schalke goalkeeper, performing heroics to keep the game goalless going into the break.
Though two goals in two minutes in the second half settled matters in the first leg, giving United a comfortable advantage at Old Trafford when the sides' next meet on May 4.
Giggs broke the deadlock after 67 minutes from a brilliant Rooney pass to slot through Neuer's legs.
The England international then turned from provider to scorer almost immediately, firing in from a similar position after Schalke suffered a defensive lapse to allow Javier Hernandez to run on to a loose ball.
Schalke resorted to speculative shooting from distance with Sergio Escudero forcing Edwin van der Sar to produce a top drawer save on what was a quiet night for the veteran Dutch goalkeeper.
However, United could have had an even wider margin going into their home leg when Patrice Evra's last-minute shot went inches wide.
The winners of this semi-final will play either Barcelona or Real Madrid in the final at Wembley on May 28.
In the Premier League, Stoke City have all but confirmed their Premier League status for another season in a 3-0 win which sends their opponents Wolves into deeper relegation trouble.
Kenwyne Jones opened the scoring for the FA Cup finalists on 16 minutes.
Ryan Shawcross sent the Potters into half-time 2-0 up against their West Midland's rivals in first half stoppage time.
Then Jermaine Pennant, on 51 minutes, rounded off another impressive night for Tony Pulis' free-scoring side.