After playing as Dortmund’s right back against Wolfsburg on Saturday, Achraf Hakimi resumed his left-back post (where Lucien Favre seems to prefer him) against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Dortmund, who blew Atletico away with a 4-0 scoreline (a game in which Achraf had a hat-trick of assists) about a fortnight ago, faced a much improved side today. Simeone lined up his usual 4-4-2, happily ceding possession and not pressing high — looking to secure the space on the flanks which Achraf so happily feasted on in the previous fixture. Dortmund patiently recycled possession, with Achraf seeing a lot of the ball; and Favre’s men seemed unbothered about keeping the ball without being incisive. But they really didn’t create anything, and that became a huge problem for them when Atletico went ahead, giving them even more confidence to close defensive channels without taking unnecessary gambles — just the way Simeone likes it.
Christian Pulisic just let Saul walk into this goal:
Achraf struggled to make the same impact he made two weeks ago when he blazed the flanks and gave Simeone a lot to think about. Defensively, the Moroccan had trouble keeping Juanfran, Correa, and Griezmann — all of whom exploited him defensively — in front of him. This was just an example of Achraf’s struggles:
He lets Correa slip behind him, and then doesn’t track him. If the ball gets back to Correa, that’s a great chance for Atleti.
Some of his passing was lax:
Dortmund, again, struggled to create. When Raphael Guerreiro came into the match for Pulisic, Dortmund did find more balance and looked a bit more surgical. But getting numbers forward meant more counters for Atleti, and Griezmann capitalized on the second goal brilliantly, bouncing off Achraf en route:
Achraf did have a couple offensive moments. In the first half, he dribbled between two defenders, and his shot was deflected out for a corner — but it wasn’t his nor Dortmund’s night. Hakimi ended the night with a game-high 135 touches, a team-high two shots (telling), two completed dribbles, and completed 87.5% of his 105 passes.