This one is for all the marbles

The big day is here. Who would have thought that the title would not only come down to the final day of the season, but also pitting together the very two teams that are vying for honors? Honvéd will host Videoton at Bozsik Józef Stadion in the old ground’s final chapter of a 104-year story, and the ending is set to be a page turner. This match will overshadow even the final Budapest derby of the season between Újpest and Ferencváros, which is no small thing. The historic derby has lost some of its luster in recent meetings, but the clash at the end of Puskás Ferenc street will more than make up for it on Saturday.
There are four other matches on offer including an important relegation decider between Diósgyor and Debrecen. Read on for a full preview of all the final matchday games with some bonus stats for the title game.

Diósgyor (10th) vs Debrecen (9th)
at Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd

We will start with the end and go up from there. Both Diósgyor and Debrecen have nothing to worry about if MTK loses today. But if MTK manages a result against Paks things will get cloudy at the bottom of the table.
Diósgyor have had their chances in recent weeks to distance themselves from this mess but they were unable to put away Gyirmót, Mezőkövesd, or MTK, drawing all three instead to end up needing a win in the final day of the season to assure their safety. Tamás Bódog’s team had to relocate their regular home location as it is the home of their opponent so the game will be played in Mezőkövesd instead. Gábor Makrai was held off the score sheet for the first time in 3 games last week, but DVTK are bound to get back into the goals as they’ve averaged two per game in their last 10 home games.
Debrecen have had an interesting week as they sacked manager Leonel Pontes and appointed Technical Director András Herczeg to take over the team for the final week of the season. The long time Loki manager will take his second interim stint hoping to finish above the line. DVSC need only to draw to achieve safety, but his side is coming off a 5-2 hammering against Honvéd last week and he will have to pull them up to get them ready mentally for this one.

Prediction: Diósgyor 2-1 Debrecen
Debrecen are coming off a run of very difficult opponents and have only lost two of their last five, but they will need a massive confidence boost to get a result in this one after last week. Diósgyor will need to take care of business as they had their chance to put MTK away last week and didn’t. I think the hosts will have just enough in what should be a great atmosphere in Mezőkövesd.

Current form:
Diósgyor – DDDWWL
Debrecen – LDWLWD

Vasas (3rd) vs Mezőkövesd (8th)
at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest

Vasas jumped into third place last week thanks to a narrow win at Gyirmót and a draw here will ensure they finish above Ferencváros. It won’t matter in terms of European qualification as both Vasas and Fradi will enter the Europa League First Qualifying round due to their league position and the fact that they’re both in the Magyar Kupa final. So, no matter how 3rd and 4th position end up or who ends up winning the cup nothing will change. Michael Oenning will want to finish the season on a high note, though, and Mikulas Radvanyi’s Mezőkövesd are ripe for the picking. Mezőkövesd ensured their survival last week with a brave win over Paks that required an injury time winner from Gergö Gohér. They haven’t won away from home in 10 games and last week’s win was their first in six tries in the league. It’s been a disappointing spring for Mezo but I’m sure they’re happy to still be in the top flight

Prediction: Vasas 2-0 Mezőkövesd
Vasas have had a nomadic season rotating through four different venues as their permanent home is finished. That could explain their poor record of just one victory in their last six league “home” matches. Vasas have had good results against Mezőkövesd, winning their last six and not conceding a goal in their last four against them. I think Radvanyi’s charges will be outclassed in this one as Vasas finish with a flourish.

Current form:
Vasas – WDLLWW
Mezőkövesd – WDLLLD

Ferencváros (4th) vs Újpest (7th)
at Groupama Aréna, Budapest

At the beginning of the season this was one of the matches that many would have circled in red. The big Budapest derby to finish the season, a classic way to end a long campaign with passionate fans and city police all dancing to the beat of generations of hopes, dreams and tradition. But this season the might Fradi have toppled from the summit to fourth place and, up until last week, Újpest were still fighting for NB1 survival.
It is still the derby and there’s no doubt that both teams will be up for this one. Thomas Doll has a big match on Wednesday and will want to make sure his team brings in some silverware this season so there’s a possibility he might rotate a few players on Saturday.
Lilák can bring all their forces to bear on this one. Enis Bardhi looked vibrant last week and it’s not out of the question that this could be his last game for Újpest with interest in the young Macedonian growing from other clubs.
Újpest have only won once in their last nine meetings with Ferencváros, but a 3-3 draw back in September saw the derby’s largest goal haul since a 6-0 Újpest league win back in 2010. The Groupama has been stage to some high scoring games this season and their home goal total (score and conceded) is 54, second only to Videoton at 59, and conceding a fourth highest 21 goals at home.

Prediction: Ferencváros 1-5 Újpest
Just a hunch.

Current form:
Ferencváros – LDWWWL
Ujpest – WLLLWD

Paks (5th) vs MTK Budapest (11th)
at Fehérvári úti stadion, Paks

Plain and simple, MTK must win this game. If they do they will survive the drop no matter what happens in other results. If they lose they are relegated. That’s a lot of pressure for a team that’s won just once in their last 7 games. Add to the equation that Paks have lost just once at home this season which makes this game a mountain to climb for Vaszilisz Teodoru’s side.
For Paks they have already surpassed last season’s points total and are currently in fifth place. A win will assure them fifth but a defeat could see them drop as low as seventh.

Prediction: Paks 1-1 MTK Budapest
Paks had little to play for and fell to a motivated Mezőkövesd side, but this week they will want to send their faithful supporters home with a solid result. MTK will have something to say about the matter, however, with the experience of Sándor Torghelle and József Kanta in the squad. It should be a close match, but I think the hosts will deny MTK in the end and they’ll go down.

Current form:
Paks – LWWLLL
MTK – DLLWDD

Haladás (6th) vs Gyirmót (12th)
at Soproni Városi Stadion, Sopron

The common theme between these two teams this season has been that the away team has triumphed both times. In fact, in four of their last five meetings the away team has been victorious.
Haladás are stumbling over the finish line with just one win in their last five. At home they’re a bit better, winning three of their last five. They will be without influential centre back Stef Wils who will be suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season last week in their 2-1 defeat at Újpest. David Williams scored his 10th of the season for Haladás last week – his biggest goal haul since scoring a dozen for Melbourne City in the A-League’s 2013/14 season.
Gyirmót are on an eight match run without a victory. With the exception of a 3-0 reverse at the hands of Paks two weeks ago, Gyirmót have either drawn or lost by one. They gave Vasas quite a fight at home last week, eventually losing 2-1 to a 67th minute Zsombor Berecz goal. Young Gergo Szalánszki saw straight red last week meaning he won’t factor in this one.

Prediction: Haladás 2-0 Gyirmót
Haladás have won 3 of their last five home games, losing 1-0 to Honvéd and drawing Vasas 2-2 in their other two results in that span. That’s not bad for a mid-table team who knows where to pick up points. Gyirmót have struggled to score recently away from home, losing both of the their last two road games without scoring.

Current form:
Haladas – LDLWLW
Gyirmót – LLDLLD

Honvéd (1st) vs Videoton (2nd)
at Bozsik József Stadion, Budapest

Not only are the top teams playing to decide the title winner in this one, but they’re both in sizzling form which should make for a fantastic spectacle in Budapest. Whether you’re a local who’s walked a couple of blocks to the stadium, or one of those who flew in from out of the country to witness this clash, it has all the potential to be a game that’s talked about for seasons to come.
Let’s look at a few facts from this season:

– Only Paks (8) have conceded fewer goals at home than Honvéd (9) in the league this season.
– Honvéd have won 11 out of 15 games at home, second only to Videoton who have 12 home wins in 17 contests.
– Videoton have won just six of 15 away games this season, but they have only conceded a league-lowest 13 goals.
– Kispest had the longest winning streak (5) and home winning streak (9) this season.
– Videoton has the longest unbeaten run away from home, currently at 7 and going strong.
– Honvéd goalkeeper Dávid Gróf has 9 clean sheets in 24 starts, with 6 of those coming at home.
– Keeper Ádám Kovácsik has started all 32 games for Videoton this season and has 13 clean sheets with 6 of those away from home.
– Videoton have two players that have scored double digits in league goals: Marko Scepovic leads the way with 13 (4 penalties) and Danko Lazovic has 10.
– Honvéd’s leading scorer also tops the league with 15 (5 coming from the penalty spot). Davide Lanzafame has 11 goals and magnificently scored in 7 consecutive games this season.
– Honvéd have not scored an own-goal this season.
– Unsurprisingly, these two teams lead the charts in average goals scored per game and are also the two stingiest in terms of goals conceded.
– Honvéd have been awarded the most penalties in the league this season (11) and have scored 9 of them.

Head to Head
Henning Berg has a perfect record against Marco Rossi. The Videoton manager took over last summer, and the former Legia boss took the pair’s first meeting 2-1 at Bozsik Stadion thanks to a second half goal from Krisztián Géresi in late September.
Their second meeting was at Pancho Aréna on 4 March and Vidi took a first half lead through Danko Lazovic before Kispest’s Ivan Lovric was sent off on the hour. Marko Scepovic scored from the spot and Lazovic added another late on to seal the win that lifted Videoton into first and signaled the beginning of this title race.

Who’s hot?
As a team Honvéd have scored 12 goals in their last 3 games. Márton Eppel has scored 3 goals in his last three games to take over the league scoring lead. He’s also chipped in two assists. Márk Koszta doubled his season’s offensive output with a hat trick against Debrecen last week. Also, goalkeeper Dávid Grof has put in some exceptional performances recently leading to his first ever national team call up. His penalty save on Dávid Holman last week was superb.
The visitors have kept pace with Kispest, scoring 12 goals in their last four games. Loïc Nego has been more effective in attack since he’s been moved into a more advanced position. His first two goals of the season over the last 3 games has been testimony to his proficiency in that role. Stopira also has two goals in his last two games showing just how dangerous they can be on set pieces. Danko Lazovic has also looked an inspired figure on their current run.

Referee
Tamás Bognár has been appointed to officiate this game. It will be his 15th assignment as the center and he’s right in the middle of the pack in terms of yellow (4.5 / gm) and red (0.29 / gm) card averages with just one penalty awarded.
In his 14 games officiated so far here is the breakdown of results: Home win: 8; Draw: 4; Visitor: 2. Incidentally, Tamás was the center official for Paks’ only home defeat so far this season.
He’s only officiated one contest with Honvéd – a 0-2 defeat at DVTK on 11 April, and one with Videoton – a 3-2 win over Debrecen a few weeks later.

Prediction: Honvéd 1-2 Videoton
Whatever happens in this match, Honvéd have already had their best season since their last title winning campaign in 1992-93. They know that a draw is all they need to lift the trophy but they’ll be foolish to sit back and wait for Videoton to attack. Videoton have already shown they can win at Bozsik, but this atmosphere will be entirely different than their first meeting in late September. This will come down to confidence, poise, concentration and experience and I think the visitors will just shade it come the final whistle.

Current Form:
Honvéd – WWWWLW
Videoton – WWWWDD