Real Madrid are starting to make it a habit of loaning out some of their best talent to Bundesliga sides: Dani Carvajal, Jesús Vallejo, Borja Mayoral, and now, Achraf Hakimi. The last name probably rings a bell to any viewer who paid a decent amount of attention to Real Madrid last year, for the Moroccan-born Castilla youth product enjoyed a small role with the first team.
In 2017/18, Achraf made 17 appearances and played 1,315 minutes across La Liga, the Champions League, the Copa del Rey, and the Club World Cup. He impressed in those sparse minutes, showing an underrated sense of defensive positioning and strong physical attributes, but it was clear that the 19 year-old was still very raw.
Hence, a loan to Borussia Dortmund followed, and on Wednesday, he got his debut vs. lowly Nürnberg. As expected, The Black and Yellows cruised to victory in a seven-goal demolition that Achraf played his part in.
For the most of the game, he played it safe and put in a mature performance on the ball; most of passes were re-circulated to the center backs or to Pulisic in the half space, allowing him to record a passing accuracy of 94.6% on 93 attempts.
But Hakimi was also not averse to initiating bolder moves when the situation called for it, something that was especially the case when Dortmund moved into the final third.
Like a modern fullback, he was fairly advanced in his positioning and burst down the overlap to dribble at opponents, initiate attacking combinations, and fire crosses into the box.
On defense, Hakimi was mainly tasked with stopping counter-attacks and he supplemented his intelligent positioning outside the box on offensive set-pieces with aggressiveness, skill, and pace in his 1v1 duels. These qualities appeared the few times he was challenged by Nürnberg’s slower possession play too, which Achraf also stopped with his excellent anticipation and defensive awareness.
Then, to put the cherry on the top of an already solid performance, he drove forward on the counter-attack to score a well-taken goal.
Dortmund fans were absolutely delighted with the Madrid product’s performance and Real fans should be as well.
Given that the German side is short on quality fullbacks, there is good reason to feel optimistic about Achraf’s development this season. And everyone involved is hoping he can keep up this level across an entire season (minus the goals of course - no one expects that on a consistent basis!).
Will Achraf’s loan spell at Borussia Dortmund be a good one?
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