Bayer 04 Leverkusen claimed pole position in UEFA Cup Group E in emphatic style, winning 5-0 away to an FC Zürich side who dropped to third place in the section with this heavy defeat.
The German club began the evening in third but travelled to Switzerland knowing, like their opponents, that victory would secure top spot provided FC Spartak Moskva dropped points at Toulouse FC. In the event the Russian team lost 2-1 in south-west France, and it was Leverkusen who took full advantage: two goals from Vratislav Greško and Dmitri Bulykin midway through the first half put them in command, before second-half strikes from Tranquillo Barnetta, Bulykin again and Stefan Kiessling completed a memorable triumph.
The two sides had gone into the game level on six points and already assured of places in the Round of 32, yet Leverkusen soon seized control. There were 19 minutes on the clock when Barnetta found Greško and the Slovakia defender unleashed a fierce shot that found the bottom corner. One-nil became two four minutes later as Bulykin drilled low beyond goalkeeper Johnny Leoni, and Leverkusen continued to push forward as the match moved into the second half.
It was 3-0 within five minutes of the restart when Barnetta headed Kiessling's cross into the top corner from near the penalty spot. Then Bulykin got his second, and Leverkusen's fourth goal three minutes before the hour, latching on to a Simon Rolfes pass and firing into the net from the edge of the area. An impressive night for the visitors – and a miserable one for the Swiss title-holders – was completed in suitably clinical fashion ten minutes from time, Kiessling finding the top corner from ten metres.