Leverkusen - A scintillating first-half display set Bayer 04 Leverkusen on their way to a 4-0 victory over FC Kobnhavn in their UEFA Champions League play-off second leg and ensure four German clubs will be in the hat for this year’s group stage draw on Thursday.

Strikes from Heung-Min Son, Hakan Calhanoglu and Stefan Kießling had Bayer 3-0 up after just 31 minutes, taking the aggregate score to 6-2 after last week’s 3-2 first leg win for Roger Schmidt’s men. The second half was a procession for the home side, with Kießling adding a fourth, his ninth goal in four games already this season, to complete an entirely comfortable evening’s work and put Bayer alongside FC Schalke 04, FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund in the group stages.

Lightning strikes twice


The Werkself’s Karim Bellarabi scored the Bundesliga’s fastest ever goal in last weekend’s win at Borussia Dortmund, and they were on the front foot from the word go again in the BayArena, as Son punished a dreadful defensive error to fire in the opener inside two minutes.

It was the perfect start for Roger Schmidt’s men and they rammed home their advantage just five minutes later when Calhanoglu bagged his first ever goal for the club with a deflected free-kick. A shell-shocked Kobnhavn were at sixes and sevens at the back, and after Son had had an effort ruled out for offside, Kießling made it 3-0 from the penalty spot after a foul on Tin Jedvaj.

Smiles all round


The pace of the encounter dropped dramatically after the restart, which was hardly surprising, considering Kobnhavn now needed five goals just to bring themselves level in the tie. Even a consolation eluded the beleaguered Danes, however, as Kießling timed his run perfectly to collect a long ball and slide in a classy fourth on 65 minutes.

The 30-year-old made way to a standing ovation shortly afterwards, as Schmidt gave new signing Josip Drmic a run-out with the minutes winding down. The Swiss was unable to get on the scoresheet himself but that did nothing to disguise a night of unbridled joy for the club and the fans, who can now prepare for at least six more games against the cream of Europe’s crop.

Line-ups:

Leverkusen: Leno - Boenisch, Toprak (Papadopoulos, 54’), Spahic, Jedvaj – Rolfes (Reinartz, 64’), Castro - Son, Bellarabi, Calhanoglu – Kießling (Drmic, 73’)

Kobnhavn: S. Andersen - Högli, Antonsson, Jörgensen, Bengtsson - Delaney, Claudemir, Amankwaa (Pourie, 75’), Toutouh (Gislason, 58’) - Kadrii, Cornelius (de Ridder. 45')

Goals: 1-0 Son (2'), 2-0 Calhanoglu (7'), 3-0 Kießling (pen 31'), 4-0 Kießling (65’)

Bernie Reeves