Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola praised "extraordinary" Ilkay Gundogan as his side took a giant step towards the Champions League quarter-finals with a comfortable win at Basel.
City took command of the last-16 first-leg tie within half an hour in Switzerland as Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero all scored within a nine-minute period.
German Gundogan, who returned from a nine-month injury lay-off in September, added his side's fourth - and his second - 10 minutes after the break.
"Ilkay Gundogan is an extraordinary player. Last season we missed him a lot with injury for six months and that's why we are so satisfied, not just the quality but personality to play," Guardiola told BT Sport.
Gundogan put City in front on 14 minutes, heading in Kevin de Bruyne's corner at the near post.
Four minutes later Silva doubled the lead, cushioning Raheem Sterling's cross on his chest before firing a volley at Basel keeper Tomas Vaclik, who could only tip the ball into his own net.
Aguero then scored his 29th of the season and his 198th for City in the 23rd minute, whipping a right-footed shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards with Vaclik rooted to the spot.
Gundogan curled City's fourth into the top corner 10 minutes after the break and was denied a hat-trick by Vaclik, who saved the German's shot from close range.
The return leg at the Etihad on 7 March should be routine for City, who lead the Premier League by 16 points and face Arsenal in the Carabao Cup final.
Basel waste chances
City enjoyed 74% possession against the reigning Swiss Super League champions and they made a mammoth 868 passes in the game, compared to Basel's 294.
The visitors were relentless in attack and the scoreline reflected an imperious performance by Guardiola's side.
But Basel were able to get at the heart of the City defence on a number of occasions.
It was the home side who threatened first with striker Dimitri Oberlin squandering an excellent chance on a counter-attack with only the onrushing keeper Ederson to beat.
Valentin Stocker saw his shot blocked when also through against Ederson, while the Brazilian keeper had to make a finger-tip stop to deny Mohamed Elyounoussi from long range.
The chances kept coming for Oberlin in the second half as he missed a close-range header and saw a free-kick saved by Ederson.
Man of the match - Ilkay Gundogan
'We are almost in the quarter-finals'
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola on BT Sport: "An excellent result. We are almost in the quarter-finals. Champions League is always 180 minutes and we will take the game seriously but it's an excellent result.
"We are still in February and in the Premier League we are in an amazing position and we are almost in the quarter-finals, we are in one final (Carabao Cup) and on Monday we have the opportunity to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup."
Source: BBC Sports