FC Schalke 04 swept Rosenborg BK aside at the Arena AufSchalke to reach the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League for the first time.
Three first-half goals killed off the Norwegian side's hopes of qualification as Schalke got the requisite victory to leapfrog their opponents into second place in Group B. Gerald Asamoah gave the hosts a 12th-minute lead and Rafinha quickly doubled the advantage. Yssouf Koné pulled one back to give Rosenborg hope but Kevin Kuranyi settled the outcome after 36 minutes with a crisp finish. Rosenborg will console themselves with a place in the UEFA Cup Round of 32.
Schalke started on the offensive with Carlos Grossmüller and Heiko Westermann shooting tamely as the home side sought their first goal in front of their own fans in this campaign. Rosenborg had promised not to sit back, though, and they created the first real chance on eleven minutes, Marek Sapara's free-kick forcing Manuel Neuer into action. Seconds later the home side took the lead from a set-piece of their own, Gerald Asamoah guiding in Grossmüller's free-kick via a Roar Strand deflection.
Mesut Özil nearly doubled the advantage almost immediately as relief coursed through the Schalke ranks. Seven minutes later Rafinha did make it 2-0, exchanging passes with Kuranyi on the edge of the area and slipping the ball past the goalkeeper. Rosenborg had offered little in return, save for a Per Ciljan Skjelbred effort, but on 23 minutes, they reduced the deficit. Westermann was Schalke's two-goal saviour in Saturday's 2-2 Bundesliga draw at Eintracht Frankfurt, but briefly turned villain here as he misjudged Alexander Tettey's cross, leaving Koné free at the back post to hammer the loose ball past Neuer.
Tettey almost made it 2-2 with an impressive header from the edge of the penalty area before Kuranyi, a scorer in Schalke's 2-0 win the last time these sides met on Matchday 2, restored the two-goal cushion. Fabian Ernst worked space before feeding Grossmüller who helped the ball on for Kuranyi to strike low into the bottom corner. Only a sprawling save from Hirschfeld prevented Asamoah making it four as the Norwegian side struggled to cope with the onslaught.
Rosenborg began the second half with renewed vigour. Steffen Iversen volleyed just over from distance, but Schalke's back line, well marshalled by Marcelo Bordon, had little difficulty coping with the visitors' attacks. Indeed the hosts remained a real threat on the counterattack, Westermann testing Hirschfeld with a tricky curling effort. A set-piece looked Rosenborg's best route back into the game and Sapara bent a presentable free-kick past the far post. No sooner had he done so than Grossmüller galloped forward to fire just over and was then unfortunate to see a drive deflect narrowly off target as Schalke looked to add some extra gloss to the scoreline. They did not manage to but the celebrations among the blue shirts at the final whistle suggested they did not need to.