NB1 Round 16 Preview

This is a weekly preview and prediction column of Hungarian NB1 football.  Chris Barrett and Paul Treso have collected the data and followed the teams and players closely all season to give you some insight to the upcoming games this weekend.  Read on as the league reaches the halfway point in Round 16 on Saturday.

Paul: Chris, it was a topsy turvy week 15 in the NB1 again.  A total of 14 goals were scored which is about the norm for  Hungarian football.  With the Hungarian winter in full force, goals will be hard to come by and we can expect low scoring matches.  I will be short and sweet in my comments this week as I was a little long winded last week.  So let us get going to December football in Hungary …

Chris: Yeah Paul, the cold winds have arrived and temperatures are dipping all around the country this week.  With each team on the same amount of games played now there aren’t many surprises at this stage.  Ferencváros, Vidi, and Honvéd are (expectedly) at the top and Kisvárda are struggling.  What is a surprise has been Haladás’ deconstruction thus far.  I don’t anyone would have predicted they’d be rock bottom at this point.  Another small revelation has been MTK’s position (4th) which has been quite impressive in their first season back from NBII.

Saturday, 1 December

Kisvárda vs Puskás Akadémia

at Várkert Sportpálya, Kisvárda

Paul: Kisvárda has lost their last three matches including their last two homes matches.  The masterful draw against Mol Vidi seems like so long ago as it was four matches ago.  The poor form continues here with yet another loss.

Puskás took the care of business against Haladás and continued their good home form.  Now away from home has been an entirely different animal with the squad losing their last five, yes count them 5, away matches.  All things come to an end and Kisvárda is the perfect squad to make this happen.

Prediction: Kisvárda 0-2 Puskás

Chris: Kisvárda have lost six of their last seven and haven’t won since mid-September.  They’ve only scored once in their last three games and they’ll be without their captain Lucas who is suspended for this game.   Puskás are unstoppable at home but away from home they’ve been trash.  They haven’t won away from home all season and have conceded at least 2 goals in each of those games.  Kisvárda will be bolstered playing at home and should be able to share the spoils here.  They drew Puskás 1-1 in Felcsút back in August and should be able to earn a similar result against the worst away performers in the league.

Prediction: Kisvárda 2-2 Puskás

Mezőkövesd vs Újpest

at Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd

Paul: Mezőkövesd has played very well at home lately while winning four of their last five home matches.  They now find themselves in the fifth position in the table and play the club one spot below them.  This match can go either way but Mezőkövesd will find a way to take this match.

Újpest was not able to take the three points from Paks and drew at home.  Their away form has been variable and inconsistent.  That continues here and they lose on a last minute defense lapse.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-1 Újpest

Chris:  Mezőkövesd are unbeaten in their last five home games with four wins in that span.  They’ve managed an impressive campaign so far and last week’s draw against Honvéd in Budapest could have been a win with a little luck.  Gábor Molnár has become the catalyst of this team in terms of production and leadership and he’s leading by example.  

Újpest are a good team with good players but their mentality is off.  They’ve done very well against the bottom half clubs this season but against the better teams they’ve proven they can’t hold a lead. Last week goalkeeper Filip Pajovic frustratingly watched Paks’ equalizer go in like a cow watches a train go by.  Dániel Nagy and Alassane Diallo’s returns to the bench from injury have been encouraging and they should be able to get more minutes in this week – perhaps even a start.  This is a tough one as both teams are almost almost identical on the table but I’m banking on Újpest to throw away points again here.  

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-2 Újpest

Haladás vs Diósgyőr 

at Szombathely Haladás Stadion, Szombathely 

Paul: Haladás has lost four of their last five home matches with the one bright spot the upset of Ferencváros.  The question is which form will the lads bring in this one?  I will take the middle ground and say a draw here.

Diósgyor has won their last two matches but both were at home.   This shows the squad has some fight left in it and some of their foreign players are making a difference.  Their away form is poor and they have not won in their last five away matches.  Their improved play  however will continue against their fellow relegation stranglers.

Prediction: Haladás 1-1 Diósgyőr

Chris: Two teams going in opposite directions here.  Haladás were handed a comprehensive loss in Felcsút last week and, surprisingly, the only goal they’ve scored in their last six games came against league-leaders Ferencváros (albeit from the penalty spot).  Diósgyőr have begun to find themselves with consecutive home wins against Debrecen and MTK in recent weeks.  Florent Hasani and Mátyás Tajti have stepped up for Fernando Fernández’s side and they could win their first away from home against a reeling Haladás side. 

Prediction: Haladás 1-2 Diósgyőr

MTK vs Debrecen

at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest 

Paul: MTK left Miskolc with a surprising loss and are quite the different squad home vs. away.  They are a very inconsistent squad but still find themselves in the fourth spot in the table.  They will find a way to win here in a match with many chances but few conversions.

Debrecen is one of the mystery teams of Hungarian soccer.   On paper they have a top 3 side but their youth and inconsistency belie them.  Slowly players are returning from injury and with an excellent manager, hope is alive.  Their away form is poor with no wins in their last five away matches.

Prediction: MTK 2-1 Debrecen

Chris: Last week it was a bit of “too little, too late” for MTK who fell just short in their comeback bid of a three-goal deficit at Diósgyőr.  They’ll be without veteran forward Sándor Torghelle who started the season as a late, super-sub but has been starting more games and playing more minutes of late, but he’s suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card last week.  Debrecen played one of their better games of the season last week but were unable to finish in a narrow defeat to Vidi at home.  Debrecen will be without a key player as well with captain Dániel Tozsér out with an injury.  This will be a close game between two similar sides but I’ll give MTK the slight advantage at home. 

Prediction: MTK 2-1 Debrecen

Paks vs Ferencváros

at Fehérvári úti Stadion, Paks

Paul: The battle of the “green” teams.  Outside of a massive defeat at home against Mol Vid, Paks has reasserted their home field advantage.   I am so close to predicting an upset win against Fradi but cannot do it.  However, I will predict a draw.

Ferencváros took the three points against Kisvárda though in unimpressive style.  They have lost two of their last three away matches which makes this a difficult match to prognosticate.  I do not see Fradi leaving Paks with a win but a draw is the safe choice despite their recent poor away form. 

Prediction: Paks 2-2 Ferencváros

Chris: Paks have had some good luck against Ferencváros in recent encounters as they extended their unbeaten run at Groupama Aréna to four games with a hard-fought draw against Fradi back in August.  At home Paks are usually one of the toughest teams to beat but their recent form at Fehérvári úti has seen them unable to score in their last two there. They managed a late equalizer against Újpest last week.

Ferencváros started two fringe players and played without injured Stefan Spirovski and still managed to play Kisvárda off the pitch last week.  Their team is still working out the kinks under Sergei Rebrov but he’s done well to make the right adjustments.  This will be a tough match in less-than-ideal conditions but the league leaders should be able to win.  They’ve only conceded four goals away from home in seven matches.

Prediction: Paks 0-1 Ferencváros

Saturday, 2 December

MOL Vidi vs Honvéd

at Sóstói Stadion, Székesfehérvár 

Paul:  Tough result for Vidi against BATE which is a nemesis for Hungarian teams.  Will the letdown continue now with their big loss?   This is a BIG home game in their new stadium which should spur the lads on to victory despite their European hangovers.

Honvéd is in the third position though I am not very impressed with them.  They meet Mol Vidi at the right time, nonetheless, and will make things interesting.  This should be an entertaining up and down match between two of the top clubs in Hungary.  

Prediction: Vidi 2-0 Honvéd

Chris:  Vidi are coming off a disappointing 2-0 defeat at the hands of BATE in the Europa League.  They’ve not done well the week after a continental match and they’ll be up against the best defense in the league in Honvéd.  They’ll be bolstered by playing in their new stadium but they’ve found it difficult to find the back of the net, scoring just twice in their last four competitive games.  Honvéd will be happy with a draw away here and they’ve been very good at keeping dangerous situations out of their own end this season.  Honvéd are unbeaten in their last six and have conceded just twice in that stretch.  Going for a bore draw here. 

Prediction:  Vidi 0-0 Honvéd