Achraf Hakimi has been on a two-year loan spell at Borussia Dortmund from parent club Real Madrid. It looks like he will be returning to Madrid with a five-year contract extension in the mist for the Moroccan at Real Madrid.
The 21-year-old has been a part of a strong Borussia Dortmund side, which has been challenging for the Bundesliga title this season. He has proved to be a strong asset as the right-wingback in Lucien Favre’s three at the back system which has shown great success in this campaign.
This tactical analysis scout report will be delving into the key components in Hakimi’s game that make him a strong performer for the German side. There will be analysis to highlight and explain why these components are important in Hakimi being a top player.
Hakimi operates as an attacking wingback. He primarily helps Dortmund in the build-up and attacking phases, but also has the engine to get back and help defensively. Hakimi has played on the right side in a 3-4-2-1 for the majority of the season. He has also shown versatility, being utilised at left-back, and left-wingback this season too.
Throughout the 2019/20 Bundesliga campaign, Hakimi has registered 10 assists. This is the third-most in the league behind Jadon Sancho (15) and Thomas Müller (16).
The reason that Hakimi can operate in the wingback position with such efficiency is due to his powerful engine. He helps in attacks for the most part but then can retreat backward and be defensively astute.
From his heatmap above, it is clear that Hakimi is active down his entire flank, reaching the opposition’s box often. Most of his activity is in the opposition half, which does show the attacking tactics implemented by Favre but he can only have such a role due to his ability to also track back. The wingback also keeps his width as this allows the roaming wingers to have more freedom to come inside.
In the picture above Hakimi is highlighted, as well as the opposition with the ball. Although Hakimi is around 10-15 yards behind the play, he manages to recover and make a tackle inside his own area. A perfect example of why his defenders will appreciate him.
Again, Hakimi is highlighted around 15 yards behind Lucas Moura, who is known for his acceleration and pace. But Hakimi’s recovery is extremely impressive and manages to win the ball back for Dortmund. His pace helps him in many defensive situations.
The Dortmund wingback has excellent acceleration, this allows him to be extremely dangerous operating in the attacking third. He can link up with his teammates and often uses his acceleration after completing a one-two with a teammate, as he gets off the mark very quickly after passing.
This can get him into extremely dangerous positions to cross, which he has great accuracy in. Hakimi is accurate with 35.9% of his crosses, comparing this to one of the best crossers in Europe, Trent Alexander-Arnold, who only has a 29.8% crossing accuracy and it is an impressive statistic.
Above is a clear example of Hakimi’s effective one-twos. As he can pick up his acceleration so quickly, he is able to bypass five Inter players when receiving the return pass by Sancho. He then can pick out Thorgan Hazard in the area but the Inter defender tackles him.
The scenario above shows another one-two from Hakami. Initially, when he receives the ball out wide he has no pressure from the opposition. He waits until he is closed down by the fullback (highlighted). This creates space in behind and is the trigger for Hakimi to release the ball. He gets the return pass and is in behind the defence and can get a cross away.
With players like Sancho, who likes to play balls in behind the opposition backline, having a willing runner like Hakimi is perfect. They often tend to find him when he plays the one-two. As many teams in the Bundesliga hold a high line, Hakimi looks to take advantage of it with his pace and acceleration.
Hakimi’s overlaps cause trouble for the opposition fullback, especially when Sancho is operating on the right side. This is due to the fullback being unclear as to who he should press and ultimately it will either result in Sancho receiving too much space to dribble forward or for Sancho to have a clear passing option to Hakimi on the overlap.
In the image above you can see that Hakimi has overlapped Sancho which has allowed the English winger to drive inside with the ball. The Inter player is reluctant to press Sancho as he is aware of the danger Hakimi presents on the right, but he can not allow the winger to drive with the ball. This leads to the Inter player making neither decision and being a passive body. This allows Sancho to drive forward and then pick out Hakimi on the right, who gets a cross into the area.
Shown above is another overlapping situation. This time the opposition player has focused on the run from Hazard, this opens up space for Hakimi to receive the pass out wide. He received the ball and played a dangerous cross into the ‘corridor of uncertainty’, unfortunately, nobody was there to finish the chance.
The ability of an overlap in the modern game is even more important than it used to be, due to most wingers thriving from getting into pockets of spaces and running inside. An overlap like the one Hakimi makes in the image above is vital in someone like Sancho or Hazard’s game as well as it creates an opportunity for a cross, which is great for a player with crossing stats like Hakimi.
Although, one difference Hakimi has to many fullbacks/wingbacks is his composure, including when he gets in front of the goal. The Moroccan manages to get 47.8% of his shots on target, almost one in two, a very respectable return considering 25.3% of his shots come from outside of the box.
The image above showcases Hakimi’s second goal against Inter in their 3-2 win in the Champions League. Hakimi has the ball one-on-one with the goalkeeper, after performing a one-two with Sancho to get into space. However, the goalkeeper has narrowed the angle for Hakimi by stepping out, this means the typical shot across goal will be more difficult to execute. However, Hakimi’s composure is shown as he calmly slots the ball in at the near post, where the keeper has left space. Although it seems easy, many forward players would not finish this chance as calmy as Hakimi did.
Yet again, in the image above Hakimi has found himself in front of goal against Borussia Mönchengladbach. However, he takes a bad touch inside the area meaning he’d have to take the shot from a narrower angle. Yet he doesn’t panic and makes the correct decision in front of the goal again. The keeper is staying cautious and not narrowing the angle even further, but is covering his near post well. Hakimi shows the composure to finish into the bottom left corner, scoring his seventh goal of the campaign.
Reading the pass
What Hakimi does extremely well in his defensive side, is his reading of the pass to the opposition attackers. He will often intercept passes and initiate a counter-attack. This is shown through his 3.9 interceptions per 90, with almost half of them (46.4%) being in the opposition half.
This runs a high risk as if the player misjudges the interception, he will be out of position with the opposition winger likely running at the centre-backs. However, Hakimi’s high numbers justify the action.
In the image above Hakimi and the player he is marking are highlighted. With a medium-range pass coming from the right-back, Hakimi reads the situation and steps in front of his man to intercept and keep possession.
Again, this time the pass from the opposition is overhit, meaning Hakimi could step out and intercept – leaving two players isolated from the game. This time he plays a wonderful cross from deep and gets an assist.
Considering that Hakimi is not the best natural defender, only winning 23.6% of his one-on-one defensive duals, his ability to avoid these situations through reading forward passes and intercepting them improves his game defensively, but also offensively as it gets the team on the front foot as seen in his assist above.
Overall, this analysis shows that Hakimi has been of the best wingbacks in world football throughout the 2019/20 season. He has great attacking ability but he also has defensive stability and an incredible engine. He is only 21-years-old too and has time to improve all aspects of his game. Real Madrid’s flanks will be a serious threat with Hakimi and Ferland Mendy operating on either side for the seasons to come.