NBI Round 24 Preview

It’s been an interesting week around the globe as the growing novel coronavirus has disrupted most of our comfortable lives and affected people in many areas – some worse than others. In this uncertain time many football leagues have decided to play behind closed doors or postpone matches altogether, but we’re lucky to have Hungarian football (for this week at least) and hope to continue to enjoy the beautiful game unhindered for as long as we can.

So welcome back to the NBI as Paul Treso and Chris Barrett take a quick look at each of the match-ups this week.

Saturday, 7 March, 2020

Paks vs Honvéd

Fehérvári úti Stadion, Paks (17:00)

Chris: This will be the second of three games Paks is playing against Honvéd in ten games. Paks held Kispest to a goalless draw at home during their Magyar Kupa quarterfinal first-leg match on Wednesday. Their league defeat last round against Kisvárda was their third in their last four games and they’re now just above the relegation with ZTE nipping at their heels. Norbert Könyves returns to the lineup after his latest red card forced him to watch the last three league games from the stands.

Honvéd have also had a tough week, losing ignominiously at home to Diósgyőr and failing to register a goal in the cup. Their once solid defense came apart last week and deputy manager István Pisont will look to right the ship in the absence of quarantined boss Giuseppe Sannino. The team doesn’t look settled and with one goal scored in their last three competitive matches,

Prediction: Paks 1-0 Honvéd

Paul: Paks has lost three of their last four matches but have won three of their last four home matches.  Conflicting statistics which make this match a very difficult one to prognosticate. Honvéd fell apart against Diósgyőr and that is putting it kindly.  No manager again this weekend. Amadou Moutari missed a 100% scoring opportunity last match in yet another of his “Benny Hill” type scoring blunders.  One would have to hope Roland Urgai is ready to go and fit enough to play 90 minutes. Against all odds, an away win as I have to think Honvéd will rebound after an embarrassing display last week.

Prediction: Paks 0-2 Honvéd

Diósgyőr vs Ujpest

DVTK Stadion, Miskolc (17:00)

Chris: Diósgyőr are one of the hottest teams in the league right now with just one defeat in seven matches this spring, and slowly climbing up the table to fifth place. Florent Hasani wowed spectators last week, but the whole team put in a memorable performance to crush Honvéd 4-0. They now return home where they’ve won two of their last three.

Újpest are slipping rapidly and their home turf at Szusza Ferenc Stadion continues to be an issue, forcing them to play in far-off ZTE last week and falling to Puskás in a five-goal game. Obinna Nwobodo played one of his best performances of the spring and Andreis Calcan scored a magnificent goal – his second in as many games, but Lilák can’t seem to string good results together.

Prediction: DVTK 2-1 Újpest

Paul: It is amazing but Diósgyőr is in the fifth spot in the NBI.  They look amazing and Gabor Molnar is proving to be quite the super substitute.  This one should be an ugly match and will be interesting to see if the home side can continue their good play and consistency.  Újpest received an old fashioned thrashing in their defeat against Puskás and are now in the conversation for the relegation battle.   They have had past success in Miskolc but it should be business as usual in this amazing season for the home side.

Prediction: DVTK 1-0 Újpest

Puskás Akademia vs MOL Fehérvár

Pancho Aréna, Felcsút (17:00)

Chris: Puskás kept their impressive league form intact last week with a solid win against Újpest but fell at home to Mezőkövesd in the cup. Now within three points of the podium, Zsolt Hornyak’s side can smell blood in the water and will look to make it a tough day for visiting Fehérvár. They’ll have to do without creative spark Josip Knezevic who is suspended after picking up his 10th yellow card of the season.

Fehérvár made it a clean sweep of the bottom clubs last week, beating Zalaegerszeg and Kaposvár by a combined score of 7-1 over the past two rounds. But ZTE provided quite the cup shock on Wednesday as they exacted some revenge with a 2-0 home win over Joan Carillo’s team. Fehérvár should be in good shape with many of their players returning from injury and suspensions. They’ve only scored one goal in their last four away games, but Ivan Petriak has looked other-worldly in his last two games.

Prediction: Puskás 0-1 Fehérvár

Paul: Puskás looked excellent in their win over Ujpest and the question is can they continue that play against higher quality competition.  A few key injures may saddle the club but they could easily pull off a victory in this match.  Fehérvár look a lot better in recent weeks.   Ivan Petryak has been playing lights out which has coincided with these improved play.  I particularly liked how he made sure to assist Nikolics in getting on the goal sheet.

Prediction: Puskás 2-2 Fehérvár

Kaposvár vs Mezőkövesd

Rákóczi Stadion, Kaposvár (17:00)

Chris: Kaposvár haven’t won in the last eight competitive games and haven’t scored in their last three matches. The team looks outmatched in most games and confidence has to be at an all-time low at this point. They’ve played some good football at times but their inability to score with any consistency has them doomed to a long spring of disappointment ahead.

Mezőkövesd are smarting after a narrow defeat to a plucky Zalaegerszeg side last week, but they turned it around and won the first leg of their cup quarterfinal in Felcsút to take the advantage against Puskás in the quarterfinals. This should be a good game for them to get back to winning ways in the league.

Prediction: Kaposvár 1-3 Mezőkövesd

Paul: Kaposvár were dismantled easily by Fehérvár.   They had no attack and their swiss cheese defense was on display yet again.  Mezőkövesd were the victims of a hangover and came back to earth against Zalaegerszeg.  Can they score more than a few goals in this match? The right team at the right time to get Mezőkövesd back to their winning ways.

Prediction: Kaposvár 1-3 Mezőkövesd

Debrecen vs Kisvárda

Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen (17:00)

Chris: Debrecen are sliding dangerously close to a relegation fight if they don’t turn things around soon. Loki have lost three straight and are up against it, facing a spirited Kisvárda side at home on Saturday. They’ve conceded nine goals in their last three games, but return home after consecutive away games.

Kisvárda haven’t won a league game away from home since mid-October and, despite a strong win against Paks last week, I don’t think this will be the week they get maximum points on the road. However, this might be quite the thriller as both sides can score goals.

Prediction: Debrecen 2-2 Kisvárda

Paul: Debrecen looked listless against Ferencváros as evidenced by their opening gift goal to Fradi.  That has to be one of the oddest goals I have ever seen.  Debrecen look to be in major disarray and now have lost three matches in a row.  Kisvárda have developed a nice style of play under their new manager.  Their away form still leaves a lot to be desired but I see the away side breaking form with a rare way win.

Prediction: Debrecen 1-2 Kisvárda

Zalaegerszeg vs Ferencváros

ZTE Aréna, Zalaegerszeg (19:30)

Chris: Zalaegerszeg are on a sensational run with four victories in their last five competitive matches including a memorable 2-0 win against MOL Fehérvár this week in the Magyar Kupa. I think their attentions are on the cup now as a real target and, even though they’ll fight hard, they’ll have their minds on next week’s second leg in Székesfehérvár.

Fradi have likely been under the watchful glare of manager Sergei Rebrov this week after rebounding from a rare defeat with a 2-0 win at home against Debrecen. Rebrov will expect nothing but the continuation of plucking maximum points as they search for a second consecutive title.

Prediction: ZTE 0-1 Ferencváros

Paul: Zalaegerszeg are on a nice roll after a league win last week and an impressive Cup win over Fehervar.  This match has suddenly become a very intriguing one as Ferencváros have shown that they are very beatable lately.  I so want to pick the home side for an upset victory but cannot do it.  Sometimes the brain wins over the heart.

Prediction: ZTE 1-2 Ferencváros