Rooney struck midway through the first half after Patrice Evra – who Leverkusen felt was offside – found him with a left-wing cross. That was his 28th Champions League goal, a British record.
United restored their lead five minutes later when Robin Van Persie unleashed a trademark volley, contorting his body to hammer the ball through Berndt Leno. It was spectacular but the keeper should have saved it.
Rooney extended the lead with a cool finish after a defensive howler by Emir Spahic, the England striker’s 200th goal for United and 29th in Europe’s top competition.
Antonio Valencia added a fourth with a driven finish to seal a classic United counter, as Rooney bagged an assist with a lovely weighted pass.
Omer Toprak bundled a late consolation home after De Gea flapped at a corner, and seconds later Van Persie marked a contender for miss of the season as he heeled the ball wide of an open goal from just two yards out.
PRE-MATCH: Shinji Kagawa is freed. Kagawa, conspicuous by his absence so far this season, was handed a start by Moyes, who also gave Marouane Fellaini a full debut. For Leverkusen, Germany midfielder Lars Bender recovered form a hip injury but only for the bench.
22’ – GOAL: Rooney sweeps the ball home, but was Evra offside when he ran in to make the cross? And did Valencia foul the keeper?
42’ – CHANCE: Rooney curls a free-kick inches wide. The England striker is having a great game.
44’ – CHANCE: Kagawa with an inventive half-volley that is deflected inches wide. Was heading in.
52’ – CHANCE: Rooney greedily goes it alone when he should have found Van Persie for a tap-in. All from a howler by Toprak.
54 – GOAL: Fantastic curling effort from Rolfes, which may have taken the slightest deflection off Carrick but was headed in anyway.
59’ – GOAL: A wonderful volley from Van Persie, but Leno let it fly through him. Poor keeping.
70’ – GOAL: A similar error to Toprak’s, this time from Spahic, and Rooney is in once more. This time the angle is better and he finishes with aplomb.
79’ – GOAL: Valencia puts United out of sight after a lovely through-ball from Rooney.
88’ – GOAL: Toprak bundles the ball in as De Gea makes a meal of a corner. Consolation.
89’ – BAD MISS: Van Persie somehow connects with his heel to put the ball wide of the far post from two yards.
Rooney’s 28th Champions League goal was a British record in the competition, while his second made it 29.
Leverkusen have failed to win in their last 13 away Champions League matches and are yet to beat an English side away from home in eight matches.
The last six German clubs to travel to Old Trafford have lost.
TALKING POINT – Should United’s opener have stood? Evra was possibly offside as he latched on to the ball down the left. Valencia definitely wasn’t and, while technically not interfering at that moment, he continued his run into the path of Leno, who was prevented from getting to the ball before Rooney – with Leverkusen arguing that he was fouling the keeper too.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United): Two landmark goals and an assist for the on-fire Rooney as he hits peak form following his unhappy summer
Manchester United: De Gea 5, Smalling 7, Ferdinand 6, Vidic 6, Evra 7, Carrick 6, Fellaini 6, Valencia 7, Kagawa 6, Rooney 8, Van Persie 7; Subs: Young 7, Cleverley NA, Hernandez NA
Leverkusen: Leno 4, Spahic 5, Boesnich 6, Toprak 6, Reinartz 6, Donati 6, Rolfes 7, Can 6, Sam 5, Ming 6, Kiessling 5; Subs: Bender 6, Derdiyok NA, Kruse NA
MATCH IN A TWEET