NB1 Round 9 preview

All twelve NB1 teams progressed past the sixth round of the Magyar Kupa last week and we are back with a full slate of league matches this week.  Read on for preview and predictions of each game from Paul Treso and Chris Barrett.  Also, feel free to follow along our banter as we “watch” the the matches together with others on Twitter.

Paul: Chris, welcome back after a one week break for the start of the Hungarian Cup and with all first division clubs safely making  it through to the first round.  Also you had a very good week in round 8 so late congratulations for that.  Now its  back to the NB1 and it’s hard to believe we are already in round 9.  Another coaching change and this time it’s for Haladás.  That now makes three coaching changes so far this season.  Wow.  Let the games begin.

Chris: Yeah Paul there’s been a lot of excitement in NB1 this season and let’s hope we get back to more of it on the pitch than in the clubhouse this week.  The derby is certainly the pick of the games as Újpest and Nebojsa Vignjevic look to end a 3 year winless run against Fradi. Read on for surprisingly delightful paragraphs from the best prognosticators in NB1 who dare to post scores for one of the more unpredictable leagues in Europe.

Saturday, 29 September

Debrecen vs Kisvárda

at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Paul: Debrecen have not won in their last five matches.  They have a talented squad but are not playing as a cohesive unit.  It will happen sometime as they have a very good manager in András Herczeg.   A  hard fought match with plenty of attacking football.

Kisvárda has won their last two matches after looking like a for sure relegated squad.  Their new manager, László Dajka, has brought a plan and a new philosophy to the squad and they have bought into this philosophy.  I see a draw here in a match that a month ago looked like a sure Debrecen victory.

Prediction: Debrecen 2-2 Kisvárda

Chris: After a strong start Debrecen are winless in their last five league matches and struggling to find the back of the net.  They return home where they are undefeated, but they have only scored once in their last three overall, and struggled in the Hungarian Cup to NBIII side BKV Elore in a nervy 2-1 win.  They have scored 7 goals in four games at home this season, however, and will be looking to return to form.

Kisvárda have grown in confidence since László Djaka took over as manager.  Four games without defeat in the league and a narrow away win the cup at the weekend has them buoyant ahead of this one.  They’ve only conceded three goals in their last five matches, surprising MTK and Puskás away from home during that stretch.

Prediction: Debrecen 1-1 Kisvárda

Ferencváros vs Újpest

at Groupama Aréna, Budapest

Paul: This is the grand  Budapest derby and always one of the best attended matches of the season. Ferencváros still seem to be adjusting to their new manager and have actually scored less goals since his arrival.  This is always an exciting match that brings out the best in both sides.

Újpest has not lost in their last five matches and has shown some improvement since exciting and exiting European play.  They now not  worry about extra matches.  The Lilak always bring extra motivation to this match and will play Fradi tough.

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-2 Újpest

Chris:  There is nothing like the atmosphere in this derby and all accounts show a full house at Groupama for this one.  Újpest haven’t won the derby since 2015 but they held Fradi to a goalless draw at Groupama in their last meeting in March. 

Ferencváros have slowed down their scoring pace since their rocket start to the season, and they’ve yet to keep a clean sheet at home despite having three away from Groupama already this season.

Újpest have brought on a strong defender in Kire Ristevski who has a lot of NB1 experience spending the last two season with Vasas.  I can’t see the Macedonian getting the start ahead of Róbert Litauszki or Mijusko Bojovic unless the latter moves up to play defensive midfielder in place of Vincent Onovo. 

This is a massive game for Lilák especially as they have the chance to make a statement and signal their intent as a club with an eye on the podium.  They haven’t won away from home yet this season and, barring a heroic effort, I don’t see Fradi getting anything but a win here.

Prediction: Ferencváros 2-1 Újpest

MTK Budapest vs Mezőkövesd

at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest 

Paul: MTK has  lost their last two matches after starting the season off very well.  Maybe the week of will do them some good?  This match will be a good challenge for MTK against a team in the upper half of the table.

On the other hand,  Mezőkövesd has won their last two matches but both of them were at home.  They have drawn in their last two away matches and the logical pick here is a draw between two similarly matched squads.

Prediction: MTK 1-1 Mezőkövesd

Chris: MTK hammered Cup minnows Tallya 8-0 on Sunday but they’ve lost their last two consecutive league matches by an aggregate score of 4-0.  Goals have been hard to come by since beginning their season with three victories out of their first four matches.  Manager Tamás Feczkó will be hoping Sunday’s comprehensive win will ignite their feeble offense.

Mezőkövesd are coming off a 3-1 defeat against MOL Vidi on Wednesday in a game where they looked very good going forward, but two mistakes at the back took the fight out of them.  Gábor Molnar’s presence should provide a huge spark as they’re looking to build their attack around him.  Mezőkövesd have lost just once in three away games and should put up a good fight in this one despite playing midweek. 

Prediction: MTK 2-2 Mezőkövesd

Puskás Akadémia vs Honvéd

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

Paul: Puskás played surprising well in defeating Mol Vidi.  Was it blip in the radar or signs of things to come?  I see some improvement in the squad and this should translate to this week as well.  If not, I predict the next coaching change to be here.

The schedule has been kind to Honvéd and this is only their third away match of the season.  This is one of those matches where a top club needs to take the three points.   Honvéd brought back Patrick Hidi after his stint in Spain.  He will be a welcome addition and strengthen the squad even further.  This will be a surprising, tough match and a draw to boot.

Prediction: Puskás 1-1 Honvéd

Chris: Puskás are coming off consecutive wins (that is not a typo).  First, against champions Vidi in the league, and then a 3-1 win in the cup last weekend.  They are a team with some talented players but so often don’t live up to that level.  Against Vidi they looked decent and could provide Honvéd with a game if they can feed off their recent successes.

Honvéd, however, bolstered their squad with the return of Patrik Hidi, and the addition of Dávid Kálnoki Kis who will be welcome additions to their backline.  Their narrow defeat against league-leaders Ferencváros was followed by a strong 6-0 win in the cup. Goalkeeper Dávid Gróf is in fine form, conceding just once in his last four games overall. 

Prediction:  Puskás 1-2 Honvéd  

Haladás vs Paks

at Szombathely Stadion, Szombathely

Paul: Haladás are in team in turmoil and as teams in turmoil do, they fired their manager.  Will this have a positive effect on the squad?  It sure did for Kisvárda and Hali hope for the same.  Home field in Szombathely was once  an advantage for this squad but the luster of a new stadium seems to have worn off this season.

Win or lose, Paks play attractive football.  They catch the home team at the right time.   Paks have been weak on the road but the time is ripe for their first away win of the season.   A team on the rise.

Prediction: Haladás 1-2 Paks

Chris: Haladás sacked manager Michael Hipp and replaced him with Ferenc Horváth who is well known in Hungarian football and last managed Balmazújváros who narrowly missed out on NB1 survival last season.  He’s a strong character and will be a bonus in the the Haladás dressing room, but veteran goalkeeper Gábor Király has hinted at some unrest among the players this season.  The coaching change, the return to playing at home, and a positive result in the cup last weekend will hopefully take the bad taste out of their mouths in losing 4-1 to Kisvarda in round 8.  Horváth is suspended for this game (from the end of last season) so he won’t sit on the bench.

Paks, on the other hand, are unbeaten in their past seven games and are playing well.  Once a primarily defense-minded club, they’ve shown some real proficiency up front in recent games with 13 goals in their last four contests.

Prediction: Haladás 1-3 Paks

Sunday, 30 September

Diósgyőr vs MOL Vidi

at Diósgyőri Stadion, Miskolc

Paul:  Diósgyor are already in the regulation battle and will be there all season.  A home match against the defending champions will be very tough.  Can they pull a Puskás and defeat the defending champions?  That is a bit too much to ask of this side at the moment.  Their penny pinching philosophy in the lack summer signings is glaringly apparent.

Mol Vidi looked terrible against Puskás but a match against Diosgyor should be the right medicine to get them back on track. An additional week off from the league will help as well. Goodbye to Danko Lazovics after his surprising retirement.  Love him or hate him, he was a very special player and will be a huge loss for Vidi.  The diving and the goals were often spectacular.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 0-3 Vidi

Chris:  With talk of Bundesliga-like, supporter-controlled group taking over Diosgyor due to a long stretch of discontent with the club, they will host the champions who looked good against Mezőkövesd midweek.  DVTK haven’t lost at home yet this season, but their current form is not good.  They needed extra time to defeat cup minnows ESMTK Budapest in the cup last weekend. 

Vidi showed great fitness and depth in their win against in-form Mezőkövesd on Wednesday.  Backup goalkeeper Tomas Tujvel is a bit of a step down from the injured Ádám Kovácsik, but I don’t see him being called into action too much in this one.

This is a rematch of the final game of last season where Vidi fielded a younger team and lost 2-1 to Diósgyőr, sending Balmazújváros out of the top flight.  

Prediction:  Diósgyőr 0-2 Vidi