The Borussia Dortmund defense was battered this season with repeated injury. Overcoming a muscle injury that plagued him for three months, Raphael Guerreiro provided stability and versatility for Dortmund during his time on the field.
Guerreiro came to Dortmund last summer, completing a €12M move from Lorient in France. Listed as a left back, Guerreiro saw time at four separate positions this past season including defense, left wing, left midfield, and central midfield.
With such tactical diversity and the ability to fill any position, Guerreiro is most definitely going to be a mainstay in the Dortmund lineup for years to come.
Guerreiro received some attention over the summer for his fantastic free kick goal he scored for Portugal against Norway. While he didn’t knock the roof off with any goals like that at Dortmund, he still showed he was dangerous during any direct kick opportunity. On free kicks, he could whip the ball in from any angle and give his teammates a chance to score. The same thing happened on corners.
Raph made any free kick chance a dangerous one for Dortmund whether he took chance or not. Gonzalo Castro’s goal against Hamburg back in April came with Guerreiro standing over the ball as a decoy. No one expected Castro to take it until the German scored. His imposing presence like that on free kicks provides Dortmund with ample opportunity to create scoring chances.
The left back’s most redeeming quality is his versatility, which was on full display at Dortmund. Although he played most of his minutes on defense, he saw some valuable time at midfield leading to many of his six Bundesliga goals on the year.
Regardless of where he played, Raph was instrumental both offensively and defensively. He created chances in attack and snuffed out opposing chances on defense. Guerreiro put in total effort in every game he played and was determined to be the difference for Dortmund.
It’s hard to find flaws in a player like Guerreiro, but his biggest risk is his proneness to injury. In each of the last three seasons, the defender has missed time due to injury. A pair of muscular injuries and a training setback sidelined Raph for almost three months and caused him to miss 12 games.
If he can stay healthy, Guerreiro’s value increases. But continuous stints on the sidelines will result in his falling out of prominence.
There’s not a more accurate way to describe Raph than by saying he’s a complete player. Well-rounded defensively while adept offensively, Guerreiro looks like he could be one of the top left backs in the world very soon. He does most everything right, and is fully aware of every situation he encounters.
In the next couple seasons, it’s impossible to think Guerreiro will regress at all. His prowess on the pitch is unmatched by many Bundesliga defenders and he’ll likely be a big reason why Dortmund wins any trophy.