NBI Round 26 Preview

It’s a very busy time in Hungarian football but what a busy week it has been!  Congratulations to Mezőkövesd and Honvéd who were victorious over two matches in under a week and will meet in the final of the Hungarian Cup on June 3rd.   MTK were a  hard luck squad who played very well but are out of the competition despite not giving up a single goal during regulation time!   Fans are allowed back to matches albeit with social distancing and precautions.   We hope everyone is safe during these difficult times.   Let us unite again and enjoy Hungarian football, the NBI!    ‘

So welcome back as Chris Barrett and Paul Treso take a quick look at the upcoming match-ups in Round 26.                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Zalaegerszeg-Kaposvár

Paul:  Is it too early to state that this is a must win match for Zalaegerszeg?  The three points are a must here if the newcomers hope to return to the NBI next season.  The loss of their fans will have an effect on the side for certain.   Now it is up to Zte to live up to expectations and show they are indeed a first division side.    Kaposvár have 10 points to show for the season and are playing for pride.   While they lack the talent to stay up, their effort can never be questioned.   They will play out the season and may prove to play a factor in the 2nd club to join them in NBII next season.

Prediction:  Zalaegerszeg 2-1 Kaposvár

Paks-Mol Fehérvár 

Paul:  Paks are another side who will miss their fans at home.   They are a very inconsistent side, yet have many talented players but consistently find themselves in the relegation zone.   They will be happy with a point in this match.   Fehérvár are out of the Cup and now must find a way to motivate themselves to hold onto the second spot in the league.   I agree with Tom Mortimer that firing Marko Nikolic will turn out to be a poor decision.  This side is lacking that magic of their championship seasons and it’s the players in my opinion.  I already miss Roland Juhász and it appears we may not see much of him the rest of the season.   I think this side will do just enough to hold onto the 2nd spot but just by a hair.

Prediction:   Paul: Paks 1-1 Mol Fehérvár 

        Chris:  Paks 1-2 Mol Fehérvár 

Diósgyőr-Mezőkövesd

Paul:  Diósgyőr have the 2nd largest fan support in Hungary and they will miss that support in their new stadium tremendously.  Can they hold onto the 5th spot in what has been a remarkable second half of the season?  Congratulations to Mezőkövesd on rightfully earning their first ever Hungarian Cup final.  They look to continue their march to Europe in what is normally a wild Northeastern Hungarian battle.   While the fans will be missed, this match should be a good battle between two sides who have surprised all season.  In an empty stadium, the home side will have to settle for a draw.

Prediction:  Paul:  Diósgyőr 1-1  Mezőkövesd 

          Chris:  Diósgyőr 1-1  Mezőkövesd 

Kisvárda-Újpest

Paul:   Both sides have unfortunately played themselves into the relegation zone.   Kisvárda looked great in putting five past Honvéd in a match that seems so long ago.  They have lost their top player in Grozav but in truth he hadn’t been playing much lately.  Újpest are truely a mystery and very inconsistent side.   They played Ferencváros well in spurts in the recent Derby but once again scoring goals continues to be  the problem.   I go back and forth on their relegation chances from minute to minute.  They will score a goal in this match but any other prediction is up in the air.

Prediction:   Paul:   Kisvárda 2-2 Újpest 

          Chris:  Kisvárda 2-1 Újpest 

Honvéd-Debrecen 

Paul:  Two matches and no goals but Honvéd found a way to make it to the Hungarian Cup final.  Go figure?  Their play has been sketchy but perhaps a suspect Debrecen defense will allow them to find their goal scoring shoes?  Debrecen have entered the relegation discussion which has to be a surprise with a club that really does have some talented players.   A great chance here for Loki to earn the “upset of the week.”

Prediction:  Paul:   Honvéd 1-2 Debrecen  

          Chris:  Honvéd 1-1 Debrecen  

Puskás Akadémia-Ferencváros          

Paul:  Puskás find themselves with a realistic chance for a European spot next season depending on the upcoming Hungarian Cup final.  Until then, their first match back won’t be easy.  On the plus side,  they do play a Ferencváros side playing their 3rd match in eight days.  The empty stadium won’t bother the home side but your guess is as good as mine whether Puskás will show up to play.  It is hard to bet against Fradi who always seem to find a way to get their three points.   A draw is the easy choice here  though the easy choice seldom ever is a good one in Hungarian football.

Prediction:   Paul:   Puskás Akadémia 1-1 Ferencváros

  Chris:  Puskás Akadémia 1-0 Ferencváros