NB1 – round 28 preview

The NB1 fires back into action on Saturday with round 28 offering some pivotal match-ups as we enter the business end of the season. A top of the table clash between Vasas and Honvéd highlights a strong lineup of games. Vasas will hope to stem Kispest’s rise to prominence, as they host Honvéd in the late game. Elsewhere, all eyes will be on Fradi as they look to bounce back from consecutive defeats by taking on bottom side Gyirmót.
Read on for a full preview of all six of Saturday’s games.

Debrecen (9th) vs Haladás (5th)
at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Debrecen welcome Haladás on Saturday after a goalless draw against MTK last week. Loki played well and could have gotten all the points but were unable to finish their chances. They were held off the score sheet for the first time in five games. Manager Leonel Pontes is still in charge but they are still dangerously close to the relegation zone – just 3 points separate them from the drop.
Haladás had dipped in form, unable to score in consecutive games for the first time all season before beating red-hot Diòsgyor last week 2-0 at home. Haladás have been intermittent away from home all season as they’ve alternated wins and losses in their last six away games. Goalkeeper Gábor Király has kept consecutive clean sheets for the first time all season, but his defense has been a big part of that. Right back Kristóf Polgár was injured in their last game and is unlikely to play against DVSC.

Prediction: Debrecen 1-2 Haladás
Haladás have won their last two games at Debrecen and are the in-form team, but I think they’ll be running into an improved side. It won’t be easy, but if David Williams can keep up his production for Haladás the visitors might be able to get the points here.

Key facts:
– Debrecen haven’t defeated Haladás in their last six meetings.
– Haladás have kept two clean sheets in their last two games.
– David Williams has scored in 3 of Haladás’ last five matches – they’ve won each time he’s scored.

Gyirmót (12th) vs Ferencváros (4th)
at Alcufer Stadion, Győr

Who would have looked at this match at the start of the season and seen anything but a comprehensive victory for the Champions?  Times change and Ferencváros have looked like anything but champs in the last week and a half. Consecutive defeats has them drifted ever further from the top and now they’re looking over their shoulder at 3 teams that are in striking distance of fourth place. Thomas Doll must continue being frustrated as passionless Fradi continue the search for solutions to a campaign in trouble. A few weeks ago they look like they had finally put the pieces together in the league and had progressed to the semifinals of the Magyar Kupa, but since they they’ve gone without victory in four league matches. They will be without Michal Nalepa who was dismissed for two yellow cards last week.
Gyirmót are coming off a solid performance in a 2-2 draw at Újpest that gave them their first point in three games. They are still firmly rooted to the bottom of the table but they’ve played with some grit since the Spring season started. István Urbányi’s side have scored in 6 of their last seven games and scored two goals on Saturday for the first time since round 1 when they drew Mezőkövesd 2-2 in July.

Prediction: Gyirmót 1-2 Ferencváros
I’m not predicting any fireworks here, and I’d think it would be the end for Herr Doll if his team made it three defeats on the trot against the bottom side. I’m expecting Fradi to turn things around here but it won’t be comprehensive as they’ve only scored 12 goals in 13 away games this season.

Key facts:
– Gyirmót have scored just six goals in 13 home games this season.
– Ferencváros have defeated Gyirmót in all four competitive matches they’ve played, conceding just once in that span.
– Marco Djuricin has been involved in more goals for Ferencváros (8G, 6A) than any other player this season.

MTK Budapest (10th) vs Videoton (2nd)
at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest

MTK have only conceded one goal in their last five games and they’ve been fairly solid at home all season conceding a miserly 11 goals in 14 games. Their problem has been scoring goals which they haven’t done in their last two. The capital club are still flirting dangerously with relegation and need points as Diósgyor are creeping up on them.
Videoton have the best defense away from home this season with just 12 goals conceded in 13 games. They haven’t been as prolific on attack on the road but they’ve managed to get results with only 3 defeats in 13 games away from their temporary home in Felcsút.
Vidi struggled at home last week in a 1-1 draw against Mezőkövesd but they were without the suspended Danko Lazovic (9G, 9A this season).

Prediction: MTK Budapest 0-1 Videoton
MTK started the season with zero goals in their first four matches. They haven’t been held goalless in consecutive games since then but they are struggling again, even with the legend Torghelle in their ranks. Videoton know the stakes here and narrowly lost at MTK last time out. They should just nick this one with Lazovic being the difference.

Key facts:
– Videoton have only been shown one red card all season.
– The home team has won each of the past five meetings with a clean sheet between these two clubs
— MTK have kept 3 clean sheets in a row.

Mezőkövesd (8th) vs Újpest (7th)
at Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd

Mezőkövesd are beaming after a solid 1-1 draw at Videoton last week, catching the league leaders on a bad week without one of their best attackers. Gábor Molnár scored his team-leading 6th goal of the season as they continue to hold onto a safe, mid-table position in the table.
Újpest responded to their impressive away win at Vasas with a disappointing home draw against basement-dwellers Gyirmót. Manager Nebojsa Vignjevic has been tinkering with his lineup in some very interesting ways, bringing central defender Jonathan Heris up front as an attacker in the last game as the tall Belgian scored against Vasas. There was no such magic last week as Lilák got goals from the theatrical Souleymane Diarra and the intrepid Enis Bardhi.
Despite just one victory in their last six matches, Újpest are incredibly just 3 points off of fourth place.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-2 Újpest
Újpest continue to struggle defensively not matter what they do in attack and that will hurt them in their chances for a top four spot. Mezo have been strong at home but are still not back to their pre-winter break form defensively. A draw seems most likely here.

Key facts:
– Újpest have never lost to Mezőkövesd in a competitive match.
– Mezőkövesd have never scored at home against Lilák.
– Újpest have only been held without a goal 3 times this season.

Paks (6th) vs Diósgyor (11th)
at Fehérvári úti Stadion, Paks

Paks had their impressive unbeaten run of 9 games ended in Budapest last week in a 2-0 defeat to Honvéd. Paks conceded two goals for the first time in nine games when they lost their last game – coincidentally enough to Diósgyor back in November.
DVTK are a new team since the arrival of new manager Tamás Bódog. Unbeaten in his first three matches with the club, they fell at Haladás 2-0 last week for their first defeat with the former Brøndby assistant manager in charge.

Prediction: Paks 2-0 Diósgyor
Going to Paks is a tall order for any team and no one has been able to breach the walls at Fehérvári úti Stadion yet this season. Paks have only conceded 3 goals in their last six at home and I think they can see off even an inspired DVTK at home.

Key facts:
– Paks have conceded a league-lowest 7 goals in 13 home games this season.
– Paks are the only NB1 team not defeated at home this season.
– DVTK have not won away in 13 games.

Vasas (3rd) vs Honvéd (1st)
at Groupama Arena, Budapest

In the pick of the bunch of this week’s games a resurgent Vasas look to pull leaders Honvéd back into a title fight. Vasas have finally seen Bálint Gaál become a more active producer with a goals and 2 assists in their last two games and that’s been a key offensively. Defensively they need to sort out a unit that’s conceded 11 goals in their last 5 matches. They will also be without winger Botond Király who suffered a shoulder injury late in their 2-1 win over Ferencváros last week.
Honvéd nosed in front of Videoton with a strong 2-0 win over a Paks side that had been dominant in recent weeks. It was a great response to their disappointing defeat at Diósgyor the week before. Márton Eppel co-leads the league with 12 goals and he has 3 in last four games. Donát Zótér, who scored a peach of goal against Paks, has also netted 3 times in his last five matches.

Prediction: Vasas 2-1 Honvéd
Vasas will be looking for some revenge after their 2-1 defeat at Bozsik Stadion when Honvéd’s Eppel scored an injury time winner to complete the comeback victory. Vasas’ attacking trio of Saglik, Remeli, and Gaál are hitting on all cylinders and I think they’ll win a close one.

Key facts:
– The home team has won the last three times these two have met.
– Donát Zsótér and Márton Eppel have scored all of Honvéd’s goal in their last 7 games.
– Vasas have scored 2 goals in each of their last 5 league matches.