Borussia Mönchengladbach have advanced to the group stage of the Champions League. The Bundesliga side overwhelmed Young Boys 6-1 in the second leg of their qualifying playoff.
Borussia Mönchengladbach 6 - 1 Young Boys (9-2 on aggregate)
(Hazard 9',64', 84'; Raffael 33', 40', 77' - Ravet 79')
Before this encounter, coach Andre Schubert called on his team to start the match on the front foot and his players didn't let him down, dominating their Swiss opponents from the off. Raffael hit the post just seven minutes in, a warning that Young Boys failed to heed.
Just two minutes later the Swiss side were punished by a fluent team goal which gave Mönchengladbach the lead on the night and a four goal cushion on aggregate following their 3-1 first leg win in Bern.
Patrick Herrmann found space on the right before picking out Raffael. The Brazilian's cushioned first-time pass left Thorgan Hazard with some work to do but the Belgian danced around keeper Yvon Mvogo on the turn and tapped in the opener.
If the visitors felt they had hope coming in to the game, Hazard's strike seemed to extinguish it and the home side took advantage of Young Boys' high line, attacking wing backs and general lack of discipline to carve open the defense almost at will.
Inevitbaly enough, it was the Raffael who doubled the lead in the 33th minute. He latched on to a horribly underhit clearance from Young Boys' Jan Lecjaks before drilling home with his left foot from the edge of the box. The 31-year-old extended the lead to three seven minutes later, confidently slamming Lars Stindl's perfectly weighted pass high in to the roof of the net from a tricky angle at the end of another excellent move.
Young Boys offered precious little at either end of the pitch as Gladbach went into the break three goals up. Both teams knew the game was over in the second period and the hosts kept control without looking quite as sharp as they had in the first 45 minutes - a wasted double chance for Hazard and Raffael meant little on Wednesday but might well be punished on other European nights.
But the game's most prominent duo weren't to be denied much longer as the game suddenly burst to life again with four goals in 20 minutes.
First Raffael turned provider on 64 minutes, his outside-of-the-boot cross finding Hazard in acres of space. Once again, Hazard made no mistake. Just 13 minutes later the pair were at it again, this time it was Hazard dinking a cross from which Raffael completed his hat-trick. It was almost a carbon copy of the fourth, save the role reversal.
The couple of hundred Swiss fans who had traveled north then had something to cheer at last as Yoric Ravet hammered home with his left foot after his right-footed free kick had been blocked by the Gladbach wall.
There was still time for Hazard to register the game's second hat trick with eight minutes remaining when he ran on to substitute Julian Korb's pass and fired low in to the net.
Although the opposition were not impressive, it was still a dominant display from the Foals and will have sent out a warning shot to Bayer Leverkusen, who visit Mönchengladbach in the first round of Bundesliga fixtures on Saturday.
But before that, both clubs will switch their attention to Monaco, where the draw for the Champions League group stages takes place this Thursday.