Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus was as surprised as anyone to see Achraf Hakimi start on the left wing for BVB in their UEFA Champions League group stage game against Slavia Prague. The result of which, however, came as no surprise.
The 20-year-old has established himself as one of the Bundesliga’s best full-backs since joining Dortmund on loan from Spanish giants Real Madrid at the start of last season.
As comfortable at right-back as he is at left-back, Hakimi has quickly become an established player in Lucien Favre’s first-team squad. However, in the Czech capital on Tuesday night he started in an unfamiliar position at left wing, but scored both goals as Dortmund took all three points from their second Group F game.
“I was a bit surprised that the coach started me in such an attacking position,” Hakimi told reporters after the game. “I know I can play there, and I’m just happy that I could help the team to victory.”
Hakimi started in the attacking role alongside Reus and Jadon Sancho, behind Julian Brandt who was leading the line in the absence of Spaniard Paco Alcacer.
The Madrid-born Morocco international scored a stunning opener just after the half-time when he latched onto a through ball from Brandt before cutting inside and through as many as four Slavia defenders and finding the top corner with his left foot.
His and Dortmund’s second was another showcase of Hakimi’s ridiculous speed as he stretched his legs down the left wing and away from the host’s defence before slotting the ball past goalkeeper Ondrej Kolar. To say Reus was impressed is an understatement.
“He’s incredibly fast. He played sensationally, that first goal was really outstanding,” the BVB captain said after the win. “From that point of view, he’s always a weapon. The coach surprised us today but we know that Achraf is very, very important for us and that he can play in several different positions.”
It adds yet another string to Hakimi’ bow, which could prove useful if Alcacer remains out for Dortmund’s trip to Freiburg this coming Saturday. The club’s top scorer in the Bundesliga this season would be a miss, but Hakimi’s new-found role could help soften the blow.
Photo Credit: BUNDESLIGA