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Watertight Leverkusen book early passage

Thursday 8 November 2012 23.20 CET
Manuel Friedrich (centre) celebrates his goal against Rapid

Bayer 04 Leverkusen confirmed their place in the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League with a convincing 3-0 victory against SK Rapid Wien that also brought a fourth successive Group K clean sheet for the Bundesliga side.

Goals from Jens Hegeler, André Schürrle and Manuel Friedrich secured three decisive points for the Rhineland club, who are now assured of a top-two spot in their section. Solid again at the back, Leverkusen can likewise pride themselves on being the only team in the group stage yet to concede, while point-less Rapid are out.

The Austrian team were out to break a run of eight consecutive losses on German soil, but a 4-0 home defeat on matchday three highlighted the scale of their task. It became harder still after just four minutes, Hegeler nodding in the rebound after a Junior Fernándes header had bounced back off the crossbar.

Two minutes later, the visitors' bar was rattled again by a curling Daniel Carvajal cross. Rapid's response, in the face of a well-organised defence, was limited to two real chances. The first fell to Stefan Kulovits, who shot wide from 12 metres on the half-hour, before Christopher Trimmel clipped a post with a 40th-minute header from a superb Thomas Schrammel cross.

Leverkusen rediscovered their momentum in the second period and stylishly doubled their advantage on 53 minutes. Terrence Boyd headed a Friedrich cross only as far as Schürrle and, 20 metres out, the German international smashed a fierce volley into the bottom corner.

Another dangerous delivery, this time a corner, brought a third goal when Ömer Toprak's cushioned header set up Friedrich to nod past Lukas Königshofer 24 minutes from time.

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