WEGBERG, Germany – La Liga’s Espanyol, which has shown improvement under new head coach Rubi, defeated Bundesliga’s Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1 on Saturday for its sixth preseason win in as many matches.
Mönchengladbach controlled the ball at Wolfstadion in the small German town of Wegberg but Espanyol was the team that posed more danger, especially in the first half.
The Spanish team first threatened the German club’s goal in the 28th minute, when Leo Baptistao controlled a pass from Borja Iglesias and fired into the body of Swiss net minder Yann Sommer in a one-on-one opportunity.
Sommer then prevented Pablo Piatti from notching a goal minutes later, but on the last play of the first half he allowed the Argentine midfielder to score when he slipped while trying to control a pass from a defender.
After the intermission, the match dynamics changed as Mönchengladbach put more pressure on its rival, with Espanyol goalkeeper Diego Lopez forced to save a shot by Patrick Herrmann at the hour mark.
However, Espanyol doubled its lead in the 62nd minute when Iglesias received a clever pass from Batistao on a free-kick play and put the ball in the back of the net.
The German club managed to pull one back when Josip Drmic punished the Espanyol defense for a failed clearance in minute 74.
Espanyol’s Marc Roca, however, scored the third goal with nine minutes to go before second-half stoppage time, putting the finishing touch on the club’s sixth friendly win in as many matches.
Earlier in the preseason, the Barcelona-based club defeated Spanish third-tier side Olot 2-1 and won two games against United Soccer League teams – the Richmond Kickers (4-2) and FC Cincinnati (3-2).
The Periquitos’ other wins were a pair of 2-0 victories versus English Premier League club Burnley and a Spanish second-tier side Nastic.
Espanyol will play its first game of the 2018-2019 La Liga season versus Celta Vigo on Aug. 18.