NB1 Round 11 preview

Hungarian NB1 football returns this week!  Take a few minutes and get caught up with what’s going on in the league and take a peek into all of Saturday’s matches as Paul and Chris give you their previews and predictions for each game.

Paul: Chris, we are back after a one week break for international matches.  It was a mixed bag for the Hungarian National Team and I will leave it at that.    Let’s get back to the NB1 where anything is possible and nothing is predictable.  Nonetheless, Chris and I will attempt to skillfully predict each match, good, bad or indifferent.  This week all the matches will be played on Saturday and off we go…

Chris: Yeah, it was a frustrating break in terms of results but I think we can hold on to a shred of hope as Marco Rossi looks like he has a plan and it will take some time to undo what’s been done over the past year or so.  The domestic league, however, has turned into an exciting mix of surprises and disappointments.  It will be interesting to see what twists and turns round 11 will have for us.

Saturday, 20 October

Debrecen vs Paks

at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Paul: Debrecen gave Fradi all they could handle and almost left the Groupama Arena with a win.  Can they continue this type of effort at home or have a let down?  This should be an up and down match with two clubs that love to counter attack and play little defense.  This match can go any of three ways but a draw is the safe choice here.

Paks have not lost in their last five matches while winning four of them.  They are playing very good football at the moment.  They could easily come away from Debrecen with a win but the fact that Loki are playing well should make this an interesting match.  This could well be the most entertaining match of the week and one I will watch for sure.

Prediction: Debrecen 2-2 Paks

Chris: This should be a hard-fought game against two solid teams in good form.  Paks have been resilient and are showing a vastly improved attack as well as a tight defense.  It seems as if Tamas Balo has currently taken over starting left back role for Paks during János Szabó’s injury – the 34 year old has been a big part of their solid defense during their current three-match winning run.  Tamás Kecskés has also played a key role in the heart of their midfield, while leading scorer János Hahn has scored all five of his goals in the last six games.

Debrecen haven’t been as impressive, but their 2-2 draw at Groupama against high-flying Ferencváros was good result for them and they should get a boost with captain Dániel Tózser returning to the lineup.

It’s a long trip for Paks and Loki have their tails up.  It should be a close game and possible rainy conditions may affect the score a bit. 

Prediction: Debrecen 1-1 Paks

Diósgyőr vs Újpest

at Diósgyőri Stadion, Miskolc

Paul: Diósgyor have lost their last two matches and have not scored a goal  in either of those matches.  They have only earned a single point at home this season.  With that said, their hope is to stack the defense and hope for a counter attack and a 1-0 win.  The chances of that are very, very slim.

Újpest looked solid  in their victory over Puskás last week.  It was nice to see Soma Novothny score his first goal in league play this season.  For the Lilak, he will need to score goals for them to be successful.  Újpest have been excellent in defense this season and have only allowed two goals in their last five matches.  This match  will be an easy, comfortable win for them.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 0-2 Újpest

Chris:  Last season’s leading scorer Soma Novothny scored his first goal of the season last round, but Újpest are in a world of hurt with injuries to key players this week.  Benjamin Cseke hasn’t featured much this season but Alassane Diallo and Dominik Nagy have been the the most productive offensive players in a misfiring team.  With both Diallo and Nagy out perhaps Novothny will rise to the occasion again.

Rumors are swirling about the future of Diosgyor’s manager Fernando, and the news that young striker Gábor Makrai is out for an extended time won’t be welcome either.   That’s a tough blow for a team that has scored just three goals in their last five and one in their last three at home.

It will be tough to breakthrough for Lilák but I think they’ll edge a close one.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 0-1 Újpest

Kisvárda vs Mezőkövesd

at Várkert Sportpálya, Kisvárda 

Paul: After two straight wins, Kisvárda have two straight losses by a total of five goals.  The initial magic of a new manager appears to have worn off.  Their defense has been giving up goals in bunches.  This match can go any way but the logical choice is a close home loss.

Mezőkövesd are playing well and as a team which makes them a tough club for any team to play.  On paper this should be a victory.  Anything other than a win will be a loss for Mezőkövesd and lost points will add up at the end of the season.

Prediction: Kisvárda 1-2 Mezőkövesd

Chris: The only form of offense for Kisvárda has come off the foot of Zoltán Horváth in recent weeks.  Despite his consistent production, the team’s brief resurgence has been cut short over the last two rounds with heavy defeats at Debrecen and Paks.  They return home but will host a team that has won three of its last five league games and have taken a lot of teams by surprise this season.  

Mezőkövesd are playing like they can beat anyone this season, but they’ve yet to do so away from home so far.  They’ve seen the great recent form of central defender Róbert Pillar and defensive midfielder Patrik Mevoungou support Stefan Drazic’s attacking prowess up front.  They’ve been a fun team to watch this season as the whole team plays well together.  Look for these two to share the points. 

Prediction: Kisvárda 2-2 Mezőkövesd

MTK vs Honvéd

at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest

Paul: After being anti-MTK for most of the season, I am now a believer in the squad.  István Bognár is playing particularly and showing much creativity in the midfield .  They are a scrappy club and easily dispatched a tired Mol Vidi club.  While this is a home match, Honvéd also play their matches now on MTK’s ground.  This should be a hotly contested match with a late MTK winner on a penalty kick.

Honvéd haven’t been playing too well recently but Diósgyor is the squad to play for three points and reestablish confidence.   Look for Honvéd to have more fans at this “away” match which should make for a good atmosphere.  They will play MTK tough in what should be an offensive  match.

Prediction: MTK 3-2 Honvéd

Chris: With this derby between teams who share the same stadium this season it makes it trickier for MTK who “host” Honvéd – a team that is no stranger to the surroundings.  MTK looked great against a tired Vidi team last round as István Bognár has stepped up his game and has shown glimpses of the player we saw a couple of years ago. Andras Shäfer also looked tireless on the right wing.  Sándor Torghelle made a rare start, but will likely make way for László Lencse who is just behind Kanta in production for MTK.

Honvéd are still struggling in attack and their narrow 1-0 win over Kisvárda from a deflected Filip Holender shot didn’t do much to restore confidence in their ability in the attacking third.  Patrik Tischler scored a hat trick last week but don’t let that fool you as it was in a friendly match during the international break against NBII side Csákvár.  Scoring has been a big problem for Kispest and the slim result against lowly Diosgyor punctuated their need for a new approach.

Prediction:  MTK 2-1 Honvéd

Haladás vs MOL Vidi

at Szombathely Haladás Stadion, Szombathely

Paul: Haladás are a mess and have lost their last three matches and have only earned one point in their last five matches.  The week off was good for their new manager to have some extra practice time with the squad.  Will they rise to the occasions against the champion as many clubs have recently?

The week off was probably the most beneficial for a Mol Vidi squad that has played the most matches of any Hungarian squad.  This week they will get back to their usual form and a poor Haladás is the right team to play at the right time 

Prediction: Haladás 1-3 MOL Vidi

Chris: Vidi should be rested and ready to return to action after their horrible 3-0 defeat against MTK before the international break.  The ‘likely’ return of goalkeeper Ádám Kovácsik would be another boost to Marko Nikolic’s side.  

Haladás went shopping over the break and brought in a couple of depth players on free transfers.  Home or away they’ve been disappointing and a rested Vidi side shouldn’t have much trouble here.

Prediction: Haladás 0-2 MOL Vidi

Puskás Akadémia vs Ferencváros

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

Paul:  Puskás came back to earth in their last match against Újpest.  This week will be even more difficult against the league leaders.  In a surprisingly close match, they will lose in the later stages of the match.  Teams tend to get “up” when playing Fradi and things will be no different here.

Ferencváros were lucky to escape with a draw against Debrecen.  They played even better with a man down.  Lanzafame has found his form with his new club and is playing dazzling football.  Away matches have been difficult for Fradi and their pattern of fewer goals will continue with a difficult match at the Pancho Arena, one of the most beautiful football grounds in Hungary.  

Prediction: Puskás 1-2 Ferencváros

Chris:  Ferencváros haven’t lost in Felcsút in five years but they’ll be without a couple of key players this week with both starting LB Marcel Heister and league-leading goalscorer Davide Lanzafame both banned for this match.  Ferencváros have a deep lineup to choose from with Dániel Bode waiting in the wings to provide goals.  

Puskás will be without Csaba Spandler on the right side for what could be the rest of the season as he was injured on international duty.  They’ve won their last two at home against two top clubs in Honvéd and Vidi and will try to shut down Fradi at Pancho Aréna.  However, Ferencváros have won their last four away games without conceding and although this one might not be as impressive, I think they’ll still take all the points. 

Prediction:  Puskás 1-2 Ferencváros