NB1 Round 15 Preview

Welcome to our weekly preview and prediction column as Paul and Chris take a closer look at each of this week’s games in the NB1.  After the international break they’ll update on how the matches are shaping up as well as collect all the team info they can to give you a better picture of each side’s chances ahead of kickoff.  The amazing thing has been the similarity in the lads’ picks as the season has gone on.  This week is no different.

Paul: Chris, welcome back after a one week vacation from the Hungarian NB1.   Living in the US, the American thanksgiving holiday was celebrated on Thursday.  I wanted to list a few of the things I am thankful for regarding Hungarian Football.  Euro 2016 will be a forever memory and has raised my expectations while showing me that Hungary can compete at the World Level.  On a simple level having my expectations raised and expecting more of Hungarian football is an achievement in itself.  MOL Vidi is playing very well in Europe and the National Team looks to be headed in the right direction under Marco Rossi.  I am able to watch, no matter where I am in the world, any NB1 match thanks to the internet.  Who would have thought?  Let us be thankful for what we have and not dwell on what we don’t have.  Off to round 15 …

Chris: Yeah, I’m stuffed after the only civic holiday I know that was created around the embarrassing mass consumption of food.  But enough about American holidays – there is a full slate of Hungarian NB1 matches on our plate this weekend that should provide a feast for all of you ready for club football to return.  

Saturday, 24 November

Honvéd vs Mezőkövesd

at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest

Paul: Honvéd are in the second position and have proved there is life after Lanzafame.  They are not playing great football at the moment but are finding ways not to lose.  This match should be another one of those.   I don’t see a win here for the home side but a hard fought draw.

Can you guess the leading scorer of NB1 who is playing in this match?  Danilo, no, Lanzafame, no as he now longer plays for Honvéd.  It’s 24 year old Gábor Molnár with 7 goals who plays for Mezőkövesd currently while on loan from Puskás. Mezőkövesd is not a particularly strong away side but will find a way to earn a result here.

Prediction: Honvéd 1-1 Mezőkövesd

Chris: Honvéd will be playing their first “home” game since early October and are on an impressive run of six games without defeat in all competitions.  However, they haven’t had good form in front of goal, scoring (on average) just over a goal per game in the league.  They have been very stingy on defense conceding a league-lowest 8 goals. 

Mezőkövesd are in good form and have done well at Honvéd, winning two of their last three trips there and they should be bolstered after a narrow 1-0 win over champions Vidi in the last round.  Gábor Molnár has been nothing short of sensational since joining the club.  

Mezo played a friendly against Debrecen behind closed doors during the break and lost 4-2 with lots of rotation.

This is a tough game to predict but I’m sure it will be close and low-scoring.

Prediction: Honvéd 1-1 Mezőkövesd

Diósgyőr vs MTK

at Diósgyőri Stadion, Miskolc

Paul: Diósgyor surprised Debrecen at home two weeks ago  with an impressive win.  Another win may be too much to ask from the lads of Miskolc.  The squad keeps up their improved form and surprise MTK at home  with a draw.

MTK has been up and down lately but still find themselves in the third position.  Your guess in this match is as good as mine.  Away they have beaten Mol Vidi but lost convincingly at Paks.  My guess is an effort somewhere in between the above two.  A month ago this would result in a win against Diósgyor but this week I am not so sure …

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-1 MTK

Chris:  Diósgyőr won their first game since early August last round and played to a goalless draw in a friendly against Balmazújváros during the international break.  DVTK have scored the least amount of goals in the league (11) and only six in 7 games at home so far.  They’ve actually been playing better of late and in their last six home games they’ve lost three but those have been against top-four clubs and two were only one-goal defeats. 

MTK won a cracker against Puskás last round and they’ve done fairly well away from home in their first season back in the top flight.  Starting right back Patrick Ikenne-King has been mysteriously absent in Tamás Feczkó’s lineup.  The former Honvéd player hasn’t been on the team sheet in MTK’s last four games. Veteran forward Sándor Torghelle continues to show that he has a lot to offer as he proves he can impact games whether starting or coming off the bench.

MTK defeated Diósgyőr 1-0 at home in their first meeting this season.  It’s another tricky fixture here and quite likely the hosts will get something from this one.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-1 MTK

Ferencváros vs Kisvárda

at Groupama Arena, Budapest 

Paul: The break came at the right time Ferencváros who were shockingly defeated by Haladás.  At the same time, during the break two players, Ivan Petryak and Stefan Spirovski, were injured playing for their respective national teams.  Yes this weakens Fradi but their home dominance and Davide Lanzafame will assure a victory.  Of course, playing  Kisvárda doesn’t hurt either.

Kisvárda have lost four of their last five matches.   Other than a surprise win away at MTK, they have been very poor away from home.  I don’t see another Haladás surprise here and Kisvárda will be lucky to score a goal.

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-1 Kisvárda

Chris: Ferencváros have lost some speculative games away from home including a disappointing 1-0 defeat before the break to Haladás.  However, they’ve done well to bounce back after those defeats and haven’t lost a competitive match at home all year.   It will be a blow to be without Petryak and Spirovski who were both injured on international duty – both have started every game and have played a big part in Fradi’s success. 

Kisvárda were hammered at home by Újpest last round and they’re leaking goals like the Titanic these days.  Can’t see another winner here but the hosts. 

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-0 Kisvárda

Puskás Akadémia vs Haladás

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút 

Paul: Puskás have won their last four in a row at home.  Yes that is not a typo ladies and gentleman.  On the flip side, they have lost their last five in a row away.  With a home match here a win is too much to ask but we will see a competitive draw.

Haladás defeated Ferencváros in the upset of the year so far in NB1.  The question now is can they keep up the momentum after the one week break?  Since this match is in Felcsút, a draw would be a respectable result here.

Prediction: Puskás 1-1 Haladás

Chris: Haladás secured their first win since August against league leaders Ferencváros before the international break.  It was a morale-boosting win for the club who have struggled through the first third of the season.  They defeated Puskás 3-2 in their first meeting this season at home but they’ve only picked up one point away from home thus far in the campaign. 

On the other hand Puskás have won their last four home matches including against the top three clubs.  They’ll be looking to return to form after a tough defeat at MTK last round. Bachana Arabuli has been playing well and has scored two goals in his last two games for Puskás.

Prediction: Puskás 3-1 Haladás

Újpest vs Paks

at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest

Paul: Újpest finds themselves in the fifth spot and have won their last three home matches in a row.  The club is finally rounding into form as injuries decimated the team earlier in the season.  The streak continues with a hard found home win against Paks.

Paks have been on a slight downward slide and now are in the eighth position.  The side is a totally different squad away than at home.  Regardless, they will give the Lilak a tough match but lose narrowly in the final minutes of the match. 

Prediction: Újpest 3-2 Paks

Chris: Újpest were victims of Vidi’s new stadium curtain-raiser this week as they fell to a narrow defeat in Székesfehérvár.  One positive is that both Alassane Diallo and Dániel Nagy returned to the squad off the bench in the defeat against Vidi and should be cleared to start against Paks. 

Paks held Honvéd to a goalless draw last game which was a good result, but they’ve been unable to find the back of the net in their last two.  

Újpest will welcome a return home where they’ve won their last three.

Prediction: Újpest 2-1 Paks

Sunday, 25 November

Debrecen vs MOL Vidi

at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Paul:  Debrecen have won their last three home matches though two weeks ago, they also were surprised by a lower level opponent, Diósgyor.  Debrecen can play with any one in the league but often find themselves playing at the level of their opponent.  That won’t happen here in a very entertaining match.

Mol Vidi once again play their usual two matches a week coming off a Wednesday match versus Újpest.  They are losing points every time this happens and are falling behind in the league.  The pattern continues but a tie will be a good result in Debrecen.  

Prediction: Debrecen 2-2 Vidi

Chris:  Debrecen fell disappointingly to Diósgyőr last round but have won their last three at home.  They played a friendly match against Mezőkövesd during the international break and won 4-2 to keep their top players match fit. 

Vidi played to a narrow win against Újpest on Wednesday and looked to have lost starting midfielder Georgi Milanov to an ankle injury.  The two teams played to a 1-1 draw in Felcsút in their first meeting of the season back in August.  Another draw looks on the cards in Debrecen.  Loki play a more open game at home and Vidi have scored eight in their last three league matches away from home. 

Prediction:  Debrecen 2-2 Vidi