NB1 Round 30 Preview

Round 30 of the NB1 happens on Saturday.  Check in with Chris and Paul as they update you with all the teams news as well as match previews and predictions for each game.  There’s a lot still on the line for each team so dive in and get caught up. 

Also, while you’re here, why not check out our latest podcast on Soundcloud and iTunes.

Paul: Chris, not a lot of goals scored in Match Day 29.   A total of only 11 with five of the goals coming in Ferencváros’ trouncing of MOL Vidi.    On that note, Ferencváros looks unstoppable and now it’s all but a foregone conclusion that they will be the champions of the 2018-2019 season.  I would have to ask when the last time that Vidi were such soundly defeated by any club?  The race for Europe and NB1 survival is still on and who knows what will happen there so off to round 30 we go and what will happens no one knows!

Chris: To answer your question Paul, Vidi were hammered at their new home by Puskás Akadémia 3-0 in their first game back from the winter beak this season. And it just so happens that the two of them are at it again this week at the same venue.  The match of the round for me is going to be Kisvárda against Haladás.  It’s a desperation match for Ferenc Horváth and his squad and it should be quite a game.  Let’s get to the previews!

Saturday, 27April

Újpest vs Debrecen 

at Szusza Ferenc Aréna, Budapest

Paul: Újpest lacked any offensive punch in their scoreless draw against Honvéd.   Admittedly they have one of the best if not the best defenses in Hungary.  It has been their offense that has let them down.    I am very much looking forward to this match and based on the fact that the match is in Budapest and not Debrecen, I will take the home side.

Debrecen did what very few clubs have been able to do lately and that is defeat Haladás.  They really did take care of business.  But that was a home match and away this young side is an entirely different squad.  They have not won in their last five away matches and that pattern should continue here but not without a fight.

Prediction: Újpest 2-1 Debrecen 8/1 with Unibet (Újpest win 10/11)

Chris: This is a massive fixture in terms of third place and a spot in  Europa League qualification.  Újpest left back Dzenan Burekovic returns from suspension but it looks like Bojan Sankovic (arguably their best defensive midfielder) will be out due to injury.  With Obinna already out, Újpest will be piecing together their midfield once again.  Up front they’ve had to deal with a worryingly ineffective Lacina Traoré as their target man and have found little to be happy with in their attack in recent weeks.

Debrecen will be tired as they went all out in their attempt to reach the Magyar Kupa final but fell well short.  Their inability to score at home with rested top players was a mystery and they’ll be playing Újpest who have the second best home record in the league.  However, they’ll be keen to hold on to third place and would be happy to hold out for a draw here. 

Prediction: Újpest 1-1 Debrecen 11/5 with Unibet (Újpest win 27/5)

Nego and company aim to delay Fradi celebrations

MOL Vidi vs Puskás Akadémia

at Sóstói Stadion, Székesfehérvár  

Paul: MOL Vidi can now concentrate on winning the Hungarian Cup after their three-goal loss to Ferencváros. Vidi need to stay sharp in order to accomplish that goal.  They saw just how difficult it is to win back to back titles in Hungary especially after so many European matches.  I don’t see them hanging their heads especially at home where they have been very good.  

Puskás have four points since their new manager took over and for the moment are three points clear of the second relegation side.  The bad news is that they play away this week where they have been horrendous.   They did draw at Paks, but these days that is no big feat. 

A hard-fought loss all the same this Saturday.

Prediction: Vidi 2-0 Puskás – 7/1 with 888 Sport (Vidi win 8/13)

Chris: Vidi got through to the Magyar Kupa with surprising ease over Debrecen this week.  After their disappointing 4-1 reverse at Ferencváros, the likelihood of retaining the title is all but gone for them.  They’ll be playing this one at a high level to put pressure on Fradi in the late game, but in the back of their minds they are dealing with the reality of being league runners-up.  Marko Scepovic returned to the side in the cup match albeit off the bench as a late substitute, but he’s still available despite reports that he would be out the rest of the season after his concussion against Fradi in the cup a couple of weeks ago.  Vidi have played well this spring and a win here is expected of them.  Last week’s defeat was their first defeat in all competitions since early February. 

András Komjáti has steered Puskás to a mini-turnaround since taking over as interim manager two weeks ago.  Puskás have looked pretty solid in their last two but their away record is the worst in the league.  They’ve only won once away from home this season but that was against Vidi – they’ve beaten them both times they’ve faced them this season.  

Still, I think Vidi should be strong favorites at home.

Prediction: Vidi 2-1 Puskás 7/1 with 888 Sport (Vidi win 8/13)

Mezőkövesd vs Diósgyőr  

at Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd  

Paul: One of our rare eastern Hungarian battles which is always a treat.  Mezőkövesd have now lost three matches in a row and are not looking good at all.  Despite being in the sixth spot on the table they are only four points clear of Diósgyor.   This will be an up-and-down  match with a tie doing the home side more good than the away club.

Diósgyor kept their hopes alive with a home victory against Paks.  They must win their home games and hope for some points on the road.   Their fans will travel well to support their club this week and that will make the difference in an away draw for the second straight time.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-2 Diósgyőr – 9/1 with Betfair (Draw 21/20)

Chris: Mezőkövesd have lost three in a row and manager Attila Kuttor has called out his squad’s spirit and drive heading into the final few games. Attacking catalyst Gábor Molnár wasn’t in the squad and his absence will be noted once again if he’s not in the team this week.  Former Diósgyőr prospect Gábor Eperjesi will face his old side for the first time in this one – the 25 year-old right back has played in three of the last four games for Kuttor and has fit in nicely.

Diósgyőr won last week and are now within touching distance of safety.  Their defense has kept them in games but they are still struggling for goals.  If Mezo wakes up and plays as well as they did against Ferencvaros two weeks ago they’ll end their losing streak. 

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 1-1 Diósgyőr9/2 with Betfair (Draw 21/20)

Can János Hahn find his scoring boots in time to save Paks?

Paks vs MTK

at Fehérvári úti Stadion, Paks   

Paul: Paks are falling apart at the wrong time.  They have lost four of their last five matches and now are only one point clear of Diósgyor.  I would not have guessed that this club would be in serious relegation trouble this season.  It’s time for them to take a stand and this week they will at home.

Where is the MTK club that started the season off so well?  That is a distant memory as the club is in the ever growing relegation battle.   Three loses now in a row and the hope now is to somehow gather enough points to stay up in the first division.   They have a win and a draw in their last 10 matches and the trend continues.

Prediction: Paks 1-0 MTK – 13/2 with Royal Panda (Paks win 5/6)

Chris: This one is painful to even consider.  Both teams have been awful in recent weeks.  Paks are still reeling from multiple injuries and suspensions and will be without winger Norbert Könyves who is suspended (again) for this one.  Paks have fallen to the precipice of relegation, mainly because they’ve failed to score a goal in their last five league games.  Mo Remili didn’t start last week and János Hahn has been deprived of service lately.  Hahn’s last last goal came agains Vidi back in early March and he still leads Paks in scoring.  It’s difficult to see where their next goal will come from.

MTK are just as bad – losing to relegation fodder Kisvárda and Haladás without scoring in the last two weeks.  Sándor Torghelle hasn’t played in the last two games and it’s unlikely he’ll make this one as well.  Neither side want to lose this game but neither can score.  As much as I’d like to think this will be a goalless draw I’m banking on Kanta, Gera, or Bognár to get a winner for MTK here as Paks seemingly have no teeth in their squad. 

Prediction: Paks 0-1 MTK10/1 with Royal Panda (MTK win 57/20)

Kisvárda’s Dajka and Co. appealing to a higher power?

Kisvárda vs Haladás 

at Várkert Sportpálya, Kisvárda 

Paul: Kisvárda had a nice away win at MTK and gave me a rare correct “upset of the week” pick.  This may be the most difficult match to pick this week with any result possible.  They have been better at home so I will go with the home side.

Has the fairy tale come to an end for  Haladás?  They gave Debrecen everything they could handle in losing by a goal.   I love the underdog as noted by my love of Hungarian football.   I see the end near for this spirited club as their away form is lacking.  They have nothing to be ashamed of no matter what the result. 

Prediction: Kisvárda 2-1 Haladás – 8/1 with 888 Sport (Kisvárda win 6/5)

Chris: This is the game to watch this week.  Kisvárda are out of the relegation zone by one point after last week’s win over MTK.  They’ve only conceded one goal in their last three games and have scored six.  László Dajka’s squad are coming together and have weathered the storm, so it seems.  They look very likely to finish strong, but they haven’t won at home in their last four tries.

Reports from Haladás claim that they’ve paid their debtors and their players which is good news for a club looking like they were slipping into insolvency. On the pitch, Haladás were unlucky to fall to Debrecen last week as they bossed the play – especially in the second half – and came agonizingly close to an equalizer on a couple of occasions but were denied a favorable outcome.  Like Kisvárda, Haladás are a different team than the one that started the season and the likes of Rui Pedro and Galin Ivanov have given them a legitimate threat on attack, while Oleh Holodiuk has provided much-needed stability in midfield.

It’s a long trip for Haladás and it’s been a brave fight but I think their run ends here.

Prediction: Kisvárda 3-2 Haladás – 24/1 with 888 Sport (Kisvárda win 6/5)

Lanza family man celebrating his first goal last week against Vidi

Honvéd vs Ferencváros 

at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest   

Paul:  Honvéd play another Budapest derby this week and hopefully it will not be as uninspiring as their last match.   Their hope now is to win the Hungarian Cup and play in Europe.  Goals have been hard to come by and I don’t see that changing this week either with another match without their manager.  

Ferencváros have had a great season and punctuated their success with a rousing annihilation over MOL Vidi.   We had a Lanzafame sighting with two goals scored by the temperamental Italian forward.   The Fradi express continues to roll  with no let down in sight  despite an away match.  

Prediction: Honvéd 0-2 Ferencváros – 8-1 with Unibet (Ferencváros win 10/13)

Chris:  I don’t think anything is stopping Ferencváros from clinching the title this week, and what a bittersweet opponent for David Lanzafame to do it against than the team he led to the title two seasons ago.  Honvéd advanced to the Magyar Kupa Final this week with an unconvincing display against second-tier side Soroskar.  They will get their captain, Djordje Kamber, back from suspension which is a bonus, but scoring continues to be an issue.  It’s one thing to put three past second-tier Soroksar, but after scoring just two goals in their last four league games doesn’t bode well ahead this week’s clash against the frontrunners.

Ferencváros have won their last eight in the league and are flying high with plenty of quality players vying for starting spots. Manager Sergei Rebrov’s main problem will be which of his talented players in each position to start.  Lanzafame made a statement to his manager with two goals in 30 minutes last week after sitting out the last three league games.  

Honvéd need a win to stay within sight of a top-three finish but they won’t get it here.

Prediction:  Honvéd 1-3 Ferencváros 12-1 with Unibet (Ferencváros win 10/13)