Inspired by Jermaine Pennant, Stoke easily booked their place in today's draw for the Europa League group stage in Monaco, overpowering Swiss leaders FC Thun and improving on their biggest win in continental competition, 3-1 against Kaiserslautern 39 years ago.
New signing Matthew Upson scored for the first time since England's humbling by Germany in last year's World Cup, prompting a spree in which Kenwyne Jones, with two trademark headers, and Glenn Whelan both shared. The tie was all over by the time substitute Andreas Wittwer hit Thun's consolation goal.
"I hope to god we can pull two big teams and are able to play them at the Britannia," said Stoke manager Tony Pulis, his team unbeaten in six games this season. "The atmosphere would be special."
The Thun coach, Bernard Challendes, admitted his team received "a lesson in what the Premier League is all about". Yet Stoke were uncharacteristically subdued until midway through the first half when they ran in three goals in 13 minutes – all following aerial deliveries by Pennant.
For the first, the right-winger's corner from the left found Upson at the far post to score on his home debut. Three minutes later, Jones scored with a diving header from 10 yards before Whelan drove the ball high into the net from inside the "D".
The fourth goal came after a Pennant-style run and cross by substitute Tom Soares. Jones rose majestically to score, rendering Wittwer's response largely irrelevant.
Stoke City (4-4-2): Sorensen; Wilkinson, Shawcross, Upson, Wilson (Collins, 56); Pennant (Soares, 55), Whitehead, Whelan, Pugh; Walters (Shotton, 63), Jones. Substitutes not used Nash (gk), Tonge, Woodgate.
FC Thun (4-4-2): Djukik; Reinmann, Ghezal, Schindelholz, Schneider (Hediger, 65); Luthi, Battig, Demiri (Wittwer, 65), Sanogo Jnr; Andrist, Lezcano (Rama, 77). Substitutes not used Moser (gk), Lustrinelli, Schneuwly, Schirinzi.
Referee M Borski (Poland).