By Mark Bennett at BayArena
Bayer 04 Leverkusen strolled into the UEFA Champions League's last 16 with a comfortable 3-0 win against FC Dynamo Kyiv in Group B, with all three goals coming in the second half.
Brazilian defender Juan gave the home side the lead six minutes after half-time, Ukrainian striker Andriy Voronin made it two and Marko Babic sealed Dynamo's exit from the competition three minutes from the end, but by that time the Ukrainian side were well beaten.
Both teams went into the match missing important midfield players. Leverkusen had to replace Jacek Krzynówek, who failed to recover from a calf problem in time, while Dynamo were without Jerko Leko, who is suffering from a leg injury.
The absences did not detract from a bright start, however, and both sides could have taken the lead inside the opening three minutes. Paul Freier had the first chance of the game, but saw his shot easily claimed by Oleksandr Shovkovskiy and only seconds later Oleh Gusev saw his effort blocked by Jens Nowotny.
Three minutes later Voronin went close to breaking the deadlock. The Ukrainian international cut inside from the left wing and escaped two tackles, only to see his effort from the edge of the area drift wide.
Voronin continued to look Leverkusen's best weapon and went close again on eleven minutes. Shovkovskiy failed to hang on to Robson Ponté's free-kick, but recovered quickly to hook the loose ball to safety with his feet as Voronin closed in fast.
After Babic's optimistic 16th-minute lob was gathered by the Dynamo goalkeeper, early promise faded as the pace of the game slowed significantly. Leverkusen's next chance did not come until the 27th minute when Berbatov headed wide after a Ponté corner.
Dynamo looked dangerous on the break throughout the first half and their best chance came six minutes before the break. Maris Verpakovskis took on and beat centre-half Nowotny before squaring the ball for Kleber, who was denied a certain goal by Roque Junior's outstretched leg.
Leverkusen finally got the breakthrough they needed six minutes into the second half. Voronin sent in a corner from the right and picked out Brazilian international Juan, who headed the home side into the lead.
Five minutes later Leverkusen's Ukrainian international almost doubled the lead. The 25-year-old slipped a tackle on the edge of the area, before firing in a left-footed shot. Voronin's attempt was good enough to beat Shovkovskiy, but struck an upright.
Berbatov then went close two minutes later. After being released by Voronin, the Bulgarian international was through on his own with only Shovkovskiy to beat, but saw his shot blocked by Goran Sablic after rounding the keeper.
However, the visitors looked far from giving up and almost got an equaliser on 67 minutes. Rodolfo connected with a Gusev corner, but Bernd Schneider cleared his effort off the line. The 31-year-old was sensational ten minutes later, jinking through the Dynamo defence before intelligently squaring the ball for Voronin, who made no mistake this time.
Three minutes from the end Babic did even more damage with the third and sealed Leverkusen's place in the first knockout round as Group B winners, forcing Dynamo to join the small band of clubs who have failed to qualify from the group stage despite picking up ten points from their six matches.