By George Overhill

26th Mar, 2023 | 8:40am

Max Wober sent back to Leeds United after injury on international duty with Austria in in blow to Javi Gracia

Max Wober has been sent back to Leeds United after picking up a hamstring injury while on international duty with Austria, the OFB has confirmed.

The defender was withdrawn in the first half of his country’s 4-1 Euro 2024 qualifying win over Azerbaijan on Friday (24 March), with manager Ralf Rangnik hoping afterwards that an assessment wouldn’t reveal serious damage.

The former Manchester United boss said, as per Laola1, that it was “hopefully nothing structural” but there is now no chance of the 25-year-old featuring in Sunday’s game against Estonia and he is instead returning to England.

Posting on the official Twitter account the Austrian FA announced on Saturday (25 March): “Ralf Rangnick will have to do without Maximilian Wöber in the game against Estonia (27.03.), who sustained a muscle injury on the back of his thigh (left) against Azerbaijan.

“He will leave the team quarters in Windischgarsten tomorrow and return to his club.”


Wober’s effect on this Leeds United side since his arrival has been greater than anyone in the squad, with a possible slight acception for Willy Gnonto.

Where the Whites backline would at times spend 90 minutes getting in each other’s way but not the opponents’ earlier in the season, his January signing from Red Bull Salzburg has somehow dragged the level of those around him up significantly.

Robin Koch seems transformed alongside him, while Junior Firpo is looking levels above what he has produced on a regular basis at Elland Road before.

Luke Ayling is still providing an element of the slapstick quota that the various previous centre-back partnerships used to generate, but on the whole the unit looks far more stable with Wober at the centre.

So it will be of great concern to Javi Gracia if this injury knocks his defensive leader out for any length of time, with a gruelling run until the end of the season, and hamstring injuries notoriously tricky to overcome quickly.

Recent results have put the Whites in a strong position to get out of trouble, but only if they keep up their current level of form, and losing Wober puts that in great jeopardy, so if there has to be an absence a week or two is about the limit of what can be stomached without getting twitchy.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites have been named as a possible destination for a record-breaking young sensation this summer.

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