Bayer 04 Leverkusen accounted for their second Ukrainian club in this season's UEFA Europa League after completing an emphatic round of 32 triumph against FC Metalist Kharkiv.
Comfortable 6-1 victors in their play-off tie with SC Tavriya Simferopol, Leverkusen progressed in even more comprehensive manner thanks largely to their 4-0 first-leg success. Goalless at the break, the Bundesliga high-flyers forged ahead on the night through Simon Rolfes early in the second half, Michael Ballack rounding things off with 20 minutes remaining. Villarreal CF may provide a bigger test in the last 16.
Not content with their commanding lead, Leverkusen began like a team brimming with confidence having won five of their last six matches. After Rolfes was thwarted by Vladimir Dišljenković, Metalist skipper Milan Obradović was next to save his side, scurrying back to deny Lars Bender a simple finish following Nicolai Jørgensen's ball across the area.
Metalist played their part in a lively opening, though. Rather than sit back and accept their fate, Myron Markevich's side took the game to their hosts whenever possible, with Marko Dević forcing two saves from René Adler.
Jørgensen was proving difficult for the visitors to contain, however. The Danish winger, 20, drew a fingertip save from Dišljenković and the Metalist goalkeeper was pressed into service again moments after the restart, foiling Gonzalo Castro. The breakthrough Leverkusen had been threatening soon arrived, as the unmarked Rolfes turned Renato Augusto's cushioned pass into the far corner.
Ballack doubled the lead on the night midway through the second period, a goal which owed much to the awareness of 17-year-old Danny da Costa. On for his second senior appearance, the substitute kept a stray ball across goal in play before pulling it back for Ballack to rifle in.
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