NB1 Round 3 preview

Round 3 of the NB1 kicks off on Saturday and there are some great matchups this week.  Read on for a preview of this week’s action and predictions by Paul Treso and Chris Barrett

Paul: Chris, once again  21 goals are scored this week in another offensive weekend.  Only two clubs, Ferencváros and Honvéd have perfect records after the first two weeks in what promises to be a competitive season.  Congratulations to Mol Vidi FC who became the first Hungarian team to win two rounds in the Champions League.  In 1995, Ferencváros only had to beat one team, Anderlecht, to make the Champions League. My, how times have changed!

Chris: Yes, and now that Honvéd and Újpest are out of the Europa League they, and the rest of the field, will turn their attentions fully on the league.  This week has so many great games and I can’t wait to get them.  Lets go!

Saturday, 4 August

Puskás Akadémia vs MTK Budapest

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

Paul: Puskás had a quick two goal lead against Diósgyor and were lucky to come away with a draw.  I don’t see things getting much better this week as Puskás, outside of Diallo, do not have much offensive punch.  Another draw is their best hope here.

MTK were brought back to earth against Ferencváros with a 4-1 thrashing at home.  Is it me who’s the only one who finds it odd not to have stands behind both goals?  A draw here gives MTK one win, one loss, and a draw to begin the season.

Prediction: Puskás 1-1 MTK

Chris: MTK saw 25 year old defender Bence Deutsch leave the game after just 6 minutes against Ferencváros last week.  After successful foot surgery he’ll be out until November.  New signing István Bognár has looked timid and against Fradi it was only too evident as they needed a spark in attack and he failed to deliver.  It should be interesting to see which MTK we’ll see in Felcsút.

Puskás got a point last week in a game they could have won.  The game lacked discipline (9 yellow cards and one red) with Gábor Molnár being dismissed in the second half.  Heading back home, Puskás should be wary as they haven’t won against MTK at Pancho Aréna with two defeats in their last two head-to-head.

Prediction: Puskás 1-2 MTK

Debrecen vs Diósgyőr

at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Paul:  Debrecen has firmed up their back line, have a formidable midfield but lack goal scoring due to injuries.  This match should prove to bring some goal scoring alive but these regional battles tend to be close no matter what the skill difference.

Diósgyőr almost came up with a win against Puskás but were denied on a missed penalty kick.  I have to give them credit for coming back from two goals down  and showing some fight.  They should give another battle against Debrecen  but in the end come up a bit short.  

Prediction: Debrecen 2-1 Diósgyőr

Chris:  Debrecen are unbeaten in their first two games of the season with right back Erik Cikos looking like a very smart summer acquisition by Loki.  They have historically done well against Diósgyőr at home, winning ALL 13 of their last home head-to-head matches against Miskloc dating back to 2010. 

Diósgyőr are not looking very good this season and despite coming back against Puskás last week, they were unable to get the victory playing against ten men for the final 21 minutes.  They were lucky to get the draw and they’ll be lucky to escape Debrecen with anything more than a close defeat. 

Prediction:  Debrecen 2-1 Diósgyőr

MOL Vidi vs Mezőkövesd

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút (postponed)

Chris:  With this game being postponed to a later date my prediction is that we will see a quiet game with not much action and absolutely no scoring. 😀

Prediction: Vidi PPD Mezőkövesd

Ferencváros vs Haladás

at Groupama Arena, Budapest 

Paul: Ferencváros is off to a flying start in the NB1 and scoring goals.  This does not look to stop in this match especially at home.   I don’t believe they will score four goals again but how about three?

Haladás had a hard fought draw last week against Újpest and things will not get any easier against an in-form Ferencváros.   It seems not so long ago that Haladás opened their new stadium with a surprising win against Fradi.

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-0 Haladás

Chris: I don’t see how Thomas Doll is going to keep all of his players happy when it comes to playing time with only one game a week.  Fradi are looking really good at the moment and when it comes to playing at Groupama Arena they’re unstoppable.  I’ve been particularly impressed with Gergo Lovrencsics and Miha Blazic on the back line, and Roland Varga continues to find ways to score.

Haladás did well to battle to a draw against Újpest last week, with Michael Rabusic scoring just his second goal since his arrival in February.  Goalkeeper Gábor Király was bruised in a clash with Somá Novothny and his status is questionable.  Ferencváros loanee Tamás Priskin is serving his second game of a four-match ban for Haladás.  I can’t see Hali getting anything out of this one – especially without Király or Priskin.

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-1 Haladás

Sunday, 5 August

Honvéd vs Paks

at Bozsik József Stadion, Budapest

Paul: Honvéd looked terrible in their trip to Luxembourg.  The match was painful to watch but I did.  There lack of quality forwards finally caught up with them in Europe.  In Hungary, they may be able to get away with Danilo and developing  young future striker(s). 

Paks seems to play up or down depending on the level of their opponents.  Based on that fact they should give Honvéd a run for their money in this match.  In my upset of the week, they come up big against  a tired Honvéd.

Prediction: Honvéd 2-3 Paks

Chris: I’m still sticking the theory that Honvéd became too dependent upon Davide Lanzafame (right Gayle?) and now they are beginning to grow as a team without him.  Danilo will flourish with more minutes and Daniel Gazdag has looked very good in the middle so far. 

This will be the third consecutive away game to open the season for Paks.  Their match against Vidi was at the best possible time for them to pick up a point at Pancho Arena as the champions had one eye on Ludogorets and another on their fitness levels.  Even with the draw, Paks didn’t look great.  Zsolt Haraszti has been the bright spot in a lineup that just doesn’t sparkle very much. 

Prediction:  Honvéd 1-0 Paks

Újpest vs Kisvárda

at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest

Paul: Újpest was very respectable in their home match against against Sevilla.  I was still surprised it wasn’t a full house but kudos to the Lilak for scoring a goal.  Back to Hungarian football and a nice match against a team in turmoil.  It will be surprisingly close for a half  but comfortable two goal win nonetheless.

Paging Attila Pinter, there is a job opening in the Hungarian first division!  I can’t remember a faster firing, just two games, of Elemér Kondás.   I’m not sure what Kisvárda is thinking with this decision after only two matches in a 33 match season.   Desperation?  The manager is blamed as it’s always easier than to fire 11 players.  Expect a little added motivation but similar results for the little team that right now “can’t.” 

Prediction: Újpest 3-1 Kisvárda

Chris: Watching the postgame interview of Újpest manager Nebojsa Vignjevic after their Europa League defeat against Sevilla this week, I was convinced more than ever that he’s a man of ambition, passion, and determination.  If he could get half as much of what he has in some of his players they could challenge for the title this season.  Donát Zsótér, who hasn’t looked great in the league so far, scored a fabulous goal against Sevilla in defeat and he looked like the hardest working player out there.  Hopefully, for Lilák’s sake, he can maintain that form that saw him become an integral part of their attack last season.

Kisvárda are a mess after two games.  Their summer signings look weak and ineffective and now they are with an interim manager after Kondás’ sacking.  Add to that the absence of central defender Martin Izing who is out with a knee injury and Újpest should have a field day at home.

Prediction: Újpest 3-1 Kisvárda