The Bundesliga outfit were strongly tipped to cause the Reds a host of problems but were dismantled in front of their home fans, who had hoped to see their own side clinch qualification. Wayne Rooney was involved in four of the goals while Shinji Kagawa and Antonio Valencia also sparkled throughout. Valencia, an Emir Spahic own goal, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Nani registered on the scoresheet for an emphatic win - the biggest away success in European Cup since hammering Shamrock Rovers 6-0 in 1957.
It took 16 minutes for United to post a first real attempt on goal but the threat was ever-present once Nani curled over the bar from Ryan Giggs' intelligent pass. When Bayer responded, Evans produced a marvellous goal-saving challenge after Stefan Kiessling dribbled past Rio Ferdinand and it proved vital with the opener coming seconds later when the visitors cleared the corner.
Shinji Kagawa dispossessed Stefan Reinartz and the ball was fed to Rooney via Giggs. The striker's cross from the left was too high for Kagawa but Valencia arrived at the far post to sneak the ball home off the upright to follow up his strike in the first encounter between the two clubs back in September.
Rooney was again the provider from the left-hand side when his free-kick was back-headed into his own net by Spahic with the centre-back under pressure from Smalling and Evans. The Reds were rampant and Kagawa was unable to find a finish to match a penetrative run through the middle while Valencia worked Bernd Leno as the interval approached.