NB1 – round 23 preview

We are back for round 23 in NB1 as the teams look to finish strong before the international break.  Read on to get a full preview of all of Saturday’s games.

Mezőkövesd (5th) vs Gyirmót (12th)
at Városi Stadion

Mezőkövesd had their six-match home unbeaten run ended by Vasas last week adding to the misery of their 5-0 defeat against Paksi the week before. With no goals scored in either game this has to be a concern for manager Tomislav Sivic. Some key players are missing in his squad recently including goalkeeper Tomas Tujvel and defenders Béla Balogh, András Vági, and Dávid Hudák.
They have an opportunity to right the ship against Gyirmót but they need the likes of Veselinovic, Strestik, Gábor Molnár to find the back of the net again. Even the benched Ulysse Diallo was brought into the side last week but, alas, to no avail.
Gyirmót made a brave effort against Haladás but were unable to overcome an early deficit at Alcufer Stadion last week. Anto Radeljic’s 85th minute consolation, however, gave them a goal in their last two matches. The last time they scored in consecutive games was back in September against the same two teams (Vasas and Haladás). It was after that they started on a run of 8 defeats, losing at home to Mezőkövesd. István Urbányi has his team playing better though. The draw at Vasas a fortnight ago was a great result for them and it’s possible they can get a result here. 22 year-old forward Csanád Novák has been impressive for them recently, getting in the right positions and taking shots. He scored their goal against Vasas and played his first full game last week since September. Look for a close game in this one.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 1-1 Gyirmót

Key facts:
– Mezőkövesd have never defeated Gyirmót at home
– Gyirmót’s last win was on 24 September (11 matches without a victory)
– Neither team has a player who has scored more than four goals this season

MTK Budapest (10th) vs Vasas (3rd)
at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion

MTK failed to win at home for a fourth consecutive time and have only won once in their last nine. It’s a difficult situation for Vaszilisz Teodoru who sees his side precariously close to the drop zone with Vasas coming to visit. MTK lost at Vasas back in October – a strange game that had all five goals scored in the first half in a 3-2 defeat with Vasas’ Zsombor Berecz sent off late in the game. A win at home would be sweet revenge for MTK but, even with Sándor Torghelle returning after his two-match ban, it’s going to be a tall order to topple Vasas.
Vasas stumbled out of the gate two weeks ago against Gyirmót but looked to be shifting through the gears quite nicely against Mezőkövesd last Saturday. Michael Oenning didn’t start new signing Bálint Gaál last week, instead bringing him on as a second half substitute with Martin Ádám starting in his place. The former Haladás hitman has yet to settle at the club and it will be interesting to see how he’s used in this one. Defensive midfielder Máté Vida’s has recovered from a knee injury but had an emergency appendectomy last Friday before the match against Mezokovesd and he won’t factor in this one either.
Torghelle will add physicality to MTK’s game and could very well spark an unlikely win as he’s apt to do, but Vasas are in form and will only get better as the season progresses.

Prediction: MTK Budapest 1-2 Vasas

Key facts:
– Vasas have won their last two meetings at MTK – both clean sheets
– Vasas have only conceded 2 goals in their last four matches
– MTK have conceded 2 goals in each of their last three games

Debrecen (9th) vs Paks (7th)
at Nagyerdei Stadion

This is the game of the season for Leonel Pontes at Debrecen. Fresh off a team-lifting 3-0 victory over Diósgyor, reportedly Loki need another win to save their manager’s job. The win over DVTK was expected, but the visit of Paks could be a concern based upon their current form. Hyun-Jun Suk was the mastermind behind Debrecen’s first goals in six games with 3 assists. New signing Frank Feltscher opened his account along with right back Attila Osváth. Goals will be much more difficult to come by against Paks who have conceded only one in their last four.
Paks have been an incredible story to start the Spring season picking up 7 out of 9 points and building off a strong end to their Fall season. In all, Paks are unbeaten in five and have moved from 11th to 6th place – 9 points clear of the danger zone and only 5 points from the top four.
János Szabó has scored in consecutive games. Amazingly he’s the only Paks player to accomplish that feat so far this season.
I think the confidence from last week’s win will push Debrecen to perform, but Paks’ momentum will stop them just short of a much-needed win

Prediction: Debrecen 1-1 Paks

Key facts:
– Paks have risen from 11th to 6th place in the last five rounds
– Paks seven goals in their last two equaled their total in their previous seven games
— Debrecen are unbeaten in their last six encounters with Paks

Videoton (1st) vs Diósgyor (11th)
at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

DVTK’s week began on a low note as captain Akos Elek made a move to Kazakhstani club Kairat Almaty on Sunday. The decision to leave came hot on the heels of manager Ferenc Horváth’s exit last week and there’s a sense that the season is unraveling for Diósgyor. Regardless of his official statement it sure appears that he’s jumping ship as Diósgyor sinks further into relegation trouble. The club announced current Brøndby assistant manager Tamás Bódog as Horváth’s permanent replacement. The former Hungarian international defender (5 caps) and former Videoton assistant will take over managerial duties in Miskolc on Monday, leaving this game in the hands of Zoltan Vitelki once more.
To make matters worse for DVTK, they face a Videoton side brimming with confidence after a 3-0 victory over fellow title-chasers Honvéd. Danko Lazovic’s “Cantona-esque” chip to put Vidi ahead last week was sublime and his talent is only half the danger. Marko Scepovic continues to shred opposition defenses with his pace and intelligence off the ball. If that duo wasn’t enough to worry about, they’ve brought Asmir Suljic into the party as well.
Henning Berg will be without forward Krisztián Géresi who suffered an injury in a reserve team match this week. This would be a devastating blow for most other teams in the league but such is the depth of Berg’s attacking arsenal.
On current form I can’t see this one going any other way than a comprehensive win for the league-leaders.

Prediction: Videoton 4-0 Diósgyor

Key facts:
– Diósgyor have won the last three head-to-head meetings
– Videoton have won five consecutive at home
– Mark Scepovic and Danko Lazovic have 5 goals and 5 assists between them in their last 3 games

Újpest (6th) vs Budapest Honvéd (2nd)
at Szusza Ferenc Stadion

Újpest fell to rivals Ferencváros in a match that lacked quality. Missing were the likes of Enis Bardhi and Souleymane Diarra for Lilák, while László Kleinheisler was out with the flu for Fradi. For Nebojsa Vignejvic’s side it was their second defeat in 3 games and they will have to pick themselves up to play another dangerous side in Budapest Honvéd. Kylian Hazard returned to the side, albeit briefly, as a late substitute which could make up a bit for an extended Bardhi absence. Diarra is available for selection this week but could start on the bench with József Windecker in good form.
Honvéd are licking their wounds as well after suffering their worst defeat of the season at the hands of Videoton in Felcsút last week. Now knocked out of the top spot, Marco Rossi will look to see what went wrong in a game he never really had a grasp on. His adjustments could prove vital this week as they look to avoid consecutive defeats for the first time this season and with Újpest back at Szusza Ferenc Stadion this could be a tricky fixture for them.

Prediction: Újpest 2-2 Budapest Honvéd

Key facts:
– The last 12 head-to-head meetings: Újpest 3W, Honvéd 3W, 6D
– Újpest were kept off the scoresheet for the first time in 15 matches last week
– Honvéd suffered their worst defeat of the season in 3-0 reverse against Videoton

Ferencváros (4th) vs Haladás (8th)
at Groupama Aréna

Haladás scored two first half goals and held out to defeat Gyirmót last week. The last time they scored more than one goal in the first half was against DVTK in a 3-1 victory back in August. Géza Mészoly has to be pleased with his squad’s efforts against Gyirmót but they have their work cut out for them this week.
Fradi are coming off an important Budapest derby win against Újpest and have now won two on the trot including their Magyar Kupa win over Honvéd last week. They haven’t conceded in four matches which points to the timely acquisition of full backs Janek Sternberg and Endre Botka during the winter transfer window. Thomas Doll has a deep and talented squad at his disposal and should be able to lead this team back into the title race. Anything else would be failure.

Prediction: Ferencváros 2-0 Haladás

Key facts:
– Haladás defeated Ferencváros in their last meeting 2-0 – their first victory in their last 10 head-to-head matches
– Haladás have scored just seven goals away from home in the league this season
– 3 of Fradi’s last four home meetings against Haladás have been victories by 2 goals