Robert Lewandowski struck a superb brace in Amsterdam as Borussia Dortmund powered into the last 16 with a 4-1 rout of Ajax in Group D of the Champions League.
The Polish striker took his tally to 12 for the season with ruthless efforts either side of half-time after Marco Reus and Mario Goetze had put the visitors in the driving seat.
Substitute Daniel Hoesen grabbed a late consolation for the Dutch champions but it did not detract from what was a hugely impressive showing from Dortmund.
The result means the Germans are now three points clear of Real Madrid and finish top of the group with one game still to play.
Juergen Klopp's charges came into the clash knowing that a point would be enough to book their place in the knockout stage.
Ajax faced a variety of permutations but Frank De Boer and co had one target in their sights - a victory that would at least ensure their hopes would remain intact for a win-or-bust showdown with Real Madrid on matchday six.
The expectation inside the Amsterdam ArenA was tangible -but there would be no fairytale as the German champions produced a first-half masterclass.
A quiet opening burst into life on eight minutes when Goetze picked out the run of Reus on the right side of the penalty area. The midfielder eluded a challenge before coolly slipping the ball underneath the advancing Kenneth Vermeer in the Ajax goal.
The hosts struggled to cope with the early set back and it was no surprise when Dortmund countered and doubled their lead on 36 minutes.
Goetze broke the offside trap down the left and cut inside Ricardo van Rhijn to fire a low drive inside the near post.
And the uphill task became a mountain to climb when the Germans killed the game just five minutes later.
Ajax failed to clear a left-wing free-kick and when Vermeer spilled Goetze's deflected shot, Lewandowski was on hand to tuck home the rebound.
The hosts needed a minor miracle to keep their hopes alive and as the game wore on it became clear they were not capable of pulling it off.
Dortmund controlled the proceedings and capped a superb night when Lewandowski cracked home the fourth on 67 minutes.
Goetze was once again the architect, clipping a ball in from the left that the Poland international controlled before unleashing a fierce volley beyond the keeper from a tight angle.
Ajax rallied in the dying embers of the game and did pull one back four minutes from time when Hoesen's shot deflected over the keeper after some sublime approach play by Christian Eriksen.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Mario Goetze - Borussia Dortmund: Scored a superb solo effort and had a hand in the other three Dortmund goals. Another example of why he is one of the most talked about playmakers in Europe.
AJAX: Vermeer 5, Alderweireld 6, Moisander 5, Blind 6, Van Rhijn 5, Poulsen 5, Enoh 5, Eriksen 6, De Jong 6, Boerrigter 5, Lukoki 5. Subs: Schone 5, Hoesen 5, Fischer 5.
BORUSSIA DORTMUND: Weidenfeller 6, Subotic 6, Hummels 6, Piszczek 6, Schmelzer 7, Bender 6, Gundogan 7, Goetze 8, Reus 7, Grosskreutz 7, Lewandowski 8. Subs: Perisic 6, Blaszczykowski 6, Schieber 5.
- Sports & Recreation
- Borussia Dortmund
- Robert Lewandowski