Leeds United turned in their most impressive pre-season performance so far during a 1-1 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach in Schwaz.
Leeds dominated a weakened Bundesliga line-up but failed to close out a deserved victory after Luke Ayling’s second-minute goal
A controlled performance in the first half threw up numerous chances, including an effort from Kalvin Phillips which came back off the crossbar. Other opportunities went begging as United pressurised a three-man Monchengladbach defence.
Borussia hit back at the start of the second half when midfielder Patrick Herrmann equalised with a curling free-kick but Leeds continued to threaten and saw Kemar Roofe rattle the frame of Monchengladbach’s goal again shortly before the hour.
The result followed on from Monday’s 3-0 defeat to Turkish side Bursaspor in Italy and United will end their Austrian training camp after Sunday’s friendly against Eibar in Jenbach.
Head coach Thomas Christiansen had a near-full squad with him, missing only Mateusz Klich after his recent injury, and the spine of last season’s team started the game. Goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald got the nod ahead of Rob Green while Pablo Hernandez’s inclusion kept Samuel Saiz on the bench.
Monchengladbach sent half of their squad to Schwaz, reserving the rest of it and many of their leading players for a later kick-off against Nice in Rottach-Egern, but their side included new £12m signing Denis Zakaria and a number of internationals.
The German club had barely had time to settle before goalkeeper Moritz Nicholas was fishing the ball from his own net. Ayling and Kemar Roofe cut the left side of Monchengladbach’s defence open with a clever exchange of passes and Ayling drove a shot in off the post, despite Nicholas getting a hand to the ball.
Wiedwald was forced into a good save soon after, denying Jonas Hofmann at his near post, but Leeds were largely comfortable and inches away from a second goal on eight minutes when Roofe’s header from a hanging Pablo Hernandez cross dipped inches over the bar.
Monchengladbach struggled to find their range and stray passes allowed Wiedwald to stay out of trouble for most of the first half. United threatened again when Pontus Jansson headed with of an empty net on 23 minutes and Roofe saw a shot deflect inches past the post at the end of Leeds’ next attack.
A Kalvin Phillips free-kick clattered Moritz’s bar on the half-hour, presenting chances on the rebound which Chris Wood and Hernandez failed to tuck away. Jansson headed another opportunity off target in injury-time as Borussia struggled to contain Christiansen’s players.
Monchengladbach took advantage of their fortune a minute into the second half as Gianni Alioski’s foul saw Patrick Herrmann curl a long-range free-kick beyond Wiedwald.
Leeds, however, were denied again when Roofe struck the underside of the bar from point-blank range after Nicholas saved brilliantly from Hernandez at the end of a low Alioski cross.
A flurry of six United substitutions followed and Monchengladbach went within inches of winning the game with a Fabian Johnson shot which carried just wide 18 minutes from time. Hadi Sacko also drove a low attempt fractionally beyond Borussia’s goal late on.
Borussia Monchengladbach: Moritz, Mayer (Beyer 62), Strobl, Herrmann, Zakaria, Johnson, Benes, Hofmann, Elvedi, Grifo, Yeboah (Villalba 62). Subs (not used): Sommer, Feigenspan, Rutten.
Leeds United: Wiedwald, Ayling (Gomes 77), Jansson (Pennington 46), Cooper (Shaughnessy 77), Berardi (Anita 46), O'Kane (Bridcutt 64), Phillips (Vieira 64), Alioski (Sacko 46), Roofe (Dallas 46), Hernandez (Saiz 46), Wood (Ekuban 46). Subs (not used): Green, Peacock-Farrell, Doukara, Antonsson.