Achraf Hakimi enjoyed a rare start for Dortmund this afternoon, as he completed the full 90 in his team’s 4 - 3 win over Augsburg.
Lukasz Piszczek, Dortmund’s 33-year-old regular starting right-back, rested on the bench as Hakimi took over duties. Achraf has been growing into the side as of late (as we’ve covered here and here), and his role with Dortmund (who are leading the league table) today was prominent.
Hakimi ventured forward as often as he could, integrating himself as a full-back with a lot of offensive duties and providing constant overloads for Jadon Sancho. When Achraf received the ball, he played quickly and vertically, often in pass-and-move sequences where he looked to provide an outlet on the flank whenever possible:
That was a sequence where Augsburg denied the passing lane. Other times, Achraf’s pace higher up the pitch was a bit too much to handle:
It’s encouraging to see that one of his weaknesses, crossing, has been improved upon this season. In his last few matches with Dortmund, his crosses have looked better weighted and more calculated than they were last season. His confidence offensively has taken a spike overall under Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre. Achraf gets involved in attack often:
If he wasn’t crossing or finding space to shoot, he would cut-in and try to slip a through-ball in a tight channel:
Undoubtedly, Achraf’s biggest contribution offensively, was his assist to Gotze for Dortmund’s third, where he slipped in a pass through the right half-space. (Believe it or not, this is the one sequence I couldn’t get a clip of, but will update this post once I have it.)
Defensively, Dortmund had a lot of issues. They had trouble defending set-pieces, where Augsburg scored two of their goals, and looked vertically loose at times — allowing Augsburg up the pitch without a huge fight. The ball was often switched to Achraf’s flank, where Caiuby was deployed. Achraf dealt well with that defensive assignment.
If Achraf’s assist was his standout moment offensively, it was this block, denying a go-ahead goal for Augsburg, that was his most notable defensive contribution:
Achraf was very involved in this game on both ends of the field (second most touches of anyone on the pitch), spent a ton of time in the opposition’s half, slung an assist, and won the free-kick which led to Paco Alcacer’s hat-trick and ultimate game-winner. His passing could’ve been better at times, but this was a very encouraging performance from the Real Madrid loanee.