NB1 Round 2 Preview

Not much has changed since the end of last season as MOL Vidi FC are back on top of the league after round 1 with Ferencváros just behind them.  Read on for a preview of each game this weekend as the season gets into stride.

Paul: Chris, it was a nice start to the season with an amazing 21 goals, in fact the most goals scored in the first round in recent memory.  A hot beginning to the season.  Not a lot of surprises in my eyes.  But as we all know the surprises will come, perhaps as soon as this weekend.  I do like the Saturday/Sunday split of games. And would like that to continue as it splits up the weekend matches.   On to round 2 where the season should get cooking as does the warm temperatures in Hungary.

Chris: I’ve never been to Hungary in the summer so I wouldn’t know, but I know California is literally on fire at the moment so I’m sure Budapest in July pales in comparison to where you live right now.

I also like the split of games over the weekend.  It allows me to watch more of the action.  About those games … let’s take a closer look.

Saturday, 28 July

Diósgyőr vs Puskás Akadémia

at DVTK Stadion, Miskolc

Paul: Diósgyor was predictably pummeled last week by Ferencváros.  They will have a struggle all season to stay up in the top flight.  This is a winnable match for them but I am not sure if they have enough firepower, despite the home match support, to win here.

Puskás did not show much in going scoreless and losing at home to Debrecen.  Not much change has happened to the club even with a new  manager.   I don’t see many goals or excitement in this match.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-1 Puskás Akadémia

Chris: Fernando’s Diósgyor are really no better than when he took over in late April.  It was after they lost at home to Puskás in the spring when the Spaniard took over.  Since then they’ve lost five and won twice (one of which was against a depleted Videoton side at the end of the season). DVTK lost both of their home friendly matches as well. 

Puskás may not have had a positive start last week but they can draw upon their last two games at Diósgyor where they’ve been victorious in both trips.  In fact, the Academy has won three of their last four against Miskolc.  It’s difficult to be a DVTK fan right now.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-2 Puskás Akadémia

MOL Vidi vs Paks

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

Paul:  Vidi came away from Razgrad with a scoreless draw but like in Belgrade, the return match could turn turn out to be a fiasco.  The squad has not improved much from last year with the same cast of characters back again to try to repeat for the championship.  More goals should come from this match against a wide-open Paks club.

One thing that we can count on in Paks matches are goals.  Last week, Paks found themselves on the short side of the stick against Mezőkövesd.   Things should be the same in this match against a Vidi club who, despite playing mid-week, should have no trouble scoring goals in bunches.  

Prediction: Vidi 3-1 Paks

Chris:  Vidi couldn’t have asked for a better first leg in Bulgaria with a goalless draw against Ludogorets in Champions League qualifying.  Now, with attentions turned back to the league, the attack-heavy Vidi side should be able to rotate enough up front to keep the pressure on Paks at home.

If Paks were an attacking side they might be able to take advantage of a tired back line, but Paks have been woeful.  They lost their last three of the season and opened up their new campaign with a 3-1 defeat against Mezőkövesd last week.  Vidi have won their last four home matches against Paks with three clean sheets.  

Prediction:  Vidi 2-0 Paks

Debrecen vs Mezőkövesd

at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Paul: Debrecen found a way to win last week with a nice  goal by their new signing Ezequiel Calvente.  I’ve always liked Calvente and he could prove to be a valuable signing for the squad.  The strike force seems to be a concern after several great chances were squandered by the forwards.

Mezőkövesd continued their late form from last season in a convincing wins against Paks.  While not a team of stars, they play well together and are a tough foe for anyone.  Manager Attila Kuttor has formed a solid defensive squad that can score goals.  This should be an intriguing and hard fought match.  Upset of the week.

Prediction: Debrecen 1-2 Mezőkövesd

Chris:  Last season Mezőkövesd started the season with consecutive wins over Debrecen and Paks and they actually topped the league for a blink of an eye after two rounds.  Their next win, however, didn’t come until late November with six of their 9 defeats coming without scoring a goal during that stretch.  

Debrecen have lost just once in their last 8 games at Nagyerdei Stadion.  They’re not a bad team when healthy and showed that last week with a gutsy, patient win in Felcsút.

Prediction: Debrecen 2-1 Mezőkövesd

Sunday, 29 July

Honvéd vs Kisvárda

at Bozsik József Stadion, Budapest

Paul: Honvéd continued their good European form with a one goal win despite the loss of Danilo to injury.  Manager Attila Supka has strengthened his back line by going with a three defender system.  A home match against a newly promoted squad should prove to produce another win for Honvéd.

Welcome to the NB1 Kisvárda!   And  a second straight away match to boot.  There is quite a difference from the second to the first division.  Of course, playing the defending champions in their first match was not an easy task.  Things don’t get much easier playing an in-form Honvéd away from home.  Expect another loss but Kisvárda should score their first NB1 goal ever in this one.

Prediction: Honvéd 2-1 Kisvárda

Chris: I’m surprised how good Honvéd have been at the start of this season, especially after losing 32 goals and 18 assists worth of offensive production in Davide Lanzafame and Márton Eppel.  Their exit has turned the spotlight on Brazilian forward Danilo who has looked good both in the Europa League and in NB1 scoring 3 goals in three games.  They managed a good win over Haladás last week in between Europa League games and they seem unfazed by the the early fixture congestion.

Kisvárda were unlucky to have been reduced to ten men after just 12 minutes against Vidi last week.  That made life difficult for newly-signed Brazilian goalkeeper Felipe who, despite saving a penalty, conceded four goals as they were broken down fairly easily by the reigning champs.  This should be an entertaining game as Kisvárda look to avoid a two-defeat start to their season.

Prediction:  Honvéd 3-1 Kisvárda

Haladás vs Újpest

at Haladás Sportkomplexum, Szombathely

Paul: Tamas Priskin came on loan to Haladás in hopes of reviving his career.  He scored a goal on the positive side but received a 4 match ban for an uncalled for elbow on an opponent.  His career has spiralled downward since his magical goal against Norway way back when.

Újpest moved on in Europe in spectacular fashion but came back to earth with a loss against MTK.  Can they begin the season with two losses in a row?  Playing at Haladás is no easy task these days but look for the Lilak to pull out at least a draw here.   Special praise to the Lilák who, despite playing with a man down at Sevilla, gave a respectable effort. 

Prediction: Haladás 1-1 Újpest

Chris: Both of these teams had discipline issues last week with Priskin gone for Haladás and both Branko Pauljevic and Benjamin Balázs suspended for Újpest.  I also think that this is a difficult game to predict as Hali will struggle in attack without a target man, and Lilák shell-shocked after consecutive defeats without scoring a goal.  This might be a wild pick, but I’m banking on no goals in what will prove to be a boring affair in Szombathelyi.

Prediction: Haladás 0-0 Újpest

MTK Budapest vs Ferencváros

at Hideguti Nandor Stadion, Budapest 

Paul: Nice opening win for MTK against Újpest. They have a second Budapest derby in a row against Fradi in what should prove to be an entertaining match.  The scoreline should be much closer and an entertaining match as well.

Ferencváros did well to put their European exit behind them and start the season with a convincing win.  Everyone season proves to be challenging with so many players coming and going for Fradi.  Now they can concentrate on the NB1 and challenge again for the title.

Prediction: MTK 1-2 Ferencváros

Chris: Thomas Doll will be basking in the glow of a season-opening demolition of Diósgyor last week.  But where they struggled last season was away from home where they scored just 22 goals in 16 games with just five victories.  MTK are not your run-of-the-mill promotees and will give Fradi everything they can handle.  They’ve only lost one of their last five head-to-head meetings with Ferencváros as well.  Their win against Újpest at Szusza Ferenc last week shows they know how to grind out a result.

Prediction: MTK 1-1 Ferencváros