NB1 Round 33 preview

Videoton claimed the NB1 title last week but there is still much to play for as we head into the last match day.  The fights over the last European spot and safety from relegation for five clubs all must be sorted in what is sure to be a dramatic day of elation and despair.  It’s sure to be a fantastic finish to another campaign in Hungary’s top flight.

Paul: Chris, it’s the final week of the season with the World Cup quickly approaching. Congratulations to Videoton who with a win over Honvéd are the champions this season.  The fourth spot in Europe is still up for grabs as well as the two squads to be relegated.  Finally, Chris it has been a pleasure working with you this season and I enjoyed writing our prediction columns while attempting to tame the unpredictable world of Hungarian football.   Hope we continue this madness next season!

Chris: I sure hope so!  It’s a long summer and there will be many changes over the coming months, but the lure of Champions League and Europa League qualifiers will be right around the corner and I’m already looking forward to what awaits our Hungarian teams in continental competition.  But we still have one more day with many loose ends that need to be tied so on to the previews and predictions!

Saturday, 2 June

Honvéd vs Vasas

at Bozsik József Stadion, Budapest

Paul: Honvéd will achieve their goal at making it back to Europe with a decisive win over Vasas.  It was a very up and down year for last year’s champions but a win here secures a spot in the Europa Liga.  At the same time, they will send their rivals Vasas down to the second division.

What a difference a year makes?  Last year, Vasas were the surprise team in the NB1 and almost defeated Beitar Jerusalem in the Europa Liga.  This year has been a struggle and they will go down to the second division hoping to rebuild and return to the NB1 in a years time.

Prediction: Honvéd 2-1 Vasas

Chris: Honvéd defeated Videoton last year to win the title in the last day of the season.  However, last week Videoton held their nerve and sealed the championship against Honved in Felcsút for a bit of revenge.  Now, a week after handing their title over to the team that they beat to it last season, Kispest are in need of a result to have a chance of securing the final European spot allotted to Hungarian teams.  Honvéd haven’t been very successful against Vasas, losing their last three competitive matches against them.  Also, Kispest haven’t had much luck at home, going without a victory in their last four.   Leading scorer Davide Lanzafame has scored 3 goals in their last three games but has never scored against Vasas.

Vasas are desperate to get a result here and they’ll throw the kitchen sink at Attila Supka’s squad.  Evgen Pavlov’s last gasp goal against Haladás has given them this final attempt at saving their NB1 status.  I think they can get a draw here which would be enough with some help.

Prediction: Honvéd 2-2 Vasas

 Újpest vs Debrecen

at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest

Paul:  Újpest have had quite a season with a Hungarian Cup win and to add to their collection a bronze medal in the NB1.  They can keep Debrecen out of Europe with a win here to end the season.  They come out with a good effort to achieve all of the above.

Debrecen were the surprise team in the NB1 this season.  We all predicted them to struggle to stay up after almost being relegated last season.  The fact that they finished in the top half of the table is a huge success.  With some consistency, next year can be very exciting.  

Prediction: Újpest 2-0 Debrecen

Chris:  Despite having already secured their Europa League qualification spot with the cup title, Lilák still had enough in the tank to put down Mezőkövesd last week and stay in the chase for third place.  Újpest have only lost one match in their last seven but have still had a difficult time scoring goals in league matches.  Only four goals have been scored in that seven-game stretch.

Debrecen are currently sitting in the final European spot, but a defeat could see them overtaken by one or more teams. After such a promising start to the season, Loki have been beset by injuries to key players and with just two wins in their last six league games they have salted away their chance for a spot on the podium and I think they will lose out despite getting a draw.  Haris Tabakovic’s recent form will win them a point on the day.

Prediction: Újpest 1-1 Debrecen

Puskás Akadémia vs Paks

at Pancho Arena, Felcsút

Paul: Puskás stayed up and avoided relegation this season.  They almost won the Hungarian Cup to boot, barely losing to Újpest on penalty kicks.  For the team and coach everyone loves to hate, I have to admit it was a successful season.

Paks were the most inconsistent club in the NB1 this season, hands down.  They tended to play to level of their opponents.  At times they looked great and at other times very sloppy.  A Europa Liga place is still possible but a tie here caps a successful season for both clubs.

Prediction: Puskás 1-1 Paks

Chris:  Puskás have nothing to gain here but overtaking Paks with a win would see them finish in the top half of the table.  Paks are hoping to cap an erratic season and claim an unlikely European spot with a victory in Felcsút.

Paks were on a run of four away matches without defeat when they lost to Diósgyor two weeks ago.  They enjoyed success against Puskás earlier this season at Pancho Arena, a 2-1 win in late September.  

Puskás have had some good results at home but all of their recent home defeats have come against teams at or near the bottom of the table.  I think Paks’ determination will win out here. 

Prediction: Puskás 1-2 Paks

Balmazújváros vs Ferencváros

at Városi Stadion, Balmazújváros

Paul: Balmazújváros have a tenuous hold on the last spot in the NB1.  With two wins in a row they have given themselves a great chance to stay up.  They could have asked for an easier opponent but with the two clubs beneath them having equally difficult matches staying up in the NB1 is very possible.

Ferencváros have only themselves to blame for not winning the championship.  They have left a lot of points on the pitch and those matches have come back to hurt them in the hunt for championship #30.  They should end the season with a win and look forward to Europe.

Prediction: Balmazújváros 1-2 Ferencváros

Chris: No one like an underdog more than I, and this Balmazújváros side have shown time and again that they are fighters.  Not many gave them more than a passing chance to survive their first season in NB1 but they have held their own in the league and made it to the semifinals of the Magyar Kupa.  They have as a good a record at home of any team outside the top two, and they third best overall defense in the league at home - conceding just 16 goals in 15 games.

Ferencváros would surely like to end the season on a high note but they will be hard-pressed to get a win here.  They have only scored 19 goals in 15 away games this season which has cost them points along the way.  Ferencváros are playing a caged animal in Balmazújváros on Saturday and we saw how the small-town club played last season with the cards on the table.  I’m backing Balmaz to get a result here but it might not be enough to save their NB1 status.

Prediction:  Balmazújváros 1-1 Ferencváros

Diósgyor vs Videoton

at Diósgyőri Stadion, Miskolc

Paul: Diósgyőr look to go down to NB2.  It has been a very difficult season for the club.  A late managerial change has not helped nor the opening of their new stadium.  I’m curious if Fernando will stay on next season as I think he would be good for the club.  The question here is what type of effort does Videoton give here?

Videoton have won the championship and should field a respectable starting 11 and get the win here.  It wouldn’t be right or fair to bring less than a decent effort in this match. 

Prediction: Diósgyor 0-1 Videoton

Chris: Congrats to Videoton in winning the championship.  Despite being head-to-head with Ferencváros for most of the season there was always the feeling that they’d win this season.  Fradi’s inability to score away from home was Videoton’s gain.  Now that they have sewn up the title and Champions League football next season they are without a whole lot of motivation here.

Diósgyor are in serious trouble and they need goals - which has been a problem for them.  In their last six games they’ve only scored twice, and only 6 in their last 10.  Videoton has the best defense in the league and even their second team would be enough to blank DTVK.

Diósgyor have scored 3 goals against Vidi this season but they’ve lost both times they’ve met.

They got their first victory in their second attempt at their new stadium against Paks a fortnight ago, but they’ll fall short against the champions who will finish in style.

Prediction: Diósgyor 1-2 Videoton

Haladás vs Mezőkövesd

at Szombathely Haladás Stadion, Szombathely 

Paul: Haladás are not safe as if things get crazy they could find themselves relegated. Fortunately they are playing at home where they have been very good.  I look for the club to end the season on a high note and stay up in NB1.

Mezőkövesd have to be commended for staying up in the NB1.  They have a young, improving squad that with a few key additions can be a stable midtable squad next season.  Since arriving, manager Attila Kuttor, has brought stability to the club.

Prediction: Haladás 2-0 Mezőkövesd

Chris: Neither of these two teams are out of the woods yet.  If Mezőkövesd lose and the other teams below them win they will be relegated.  A Haladás defeat opens up a similar situation for Michal Hipp’s side.  Mezőkövesd will be safe with a draw, but a Vasas win over Honvéd could spell trouble for Hali.  This will be a key match that will determine a lot of finishes.

After a 3 match winning run, Mezőkövesd narrowly fell to Újpest last week but could have just as easily taken a point.  They’ve been playing well enough to earn another season in the top flight and will look to finish strong here.  They defeated Haladás 2-1 at home in their last meeting with them, and drew 2-2 earlier in the season before Hali moved into their new stadium.  They’ve also won their last two away games and are unbeaten in 8 of their last 9 away. 

Haladás will need something special here with just one win in their last six matches.  Even at home, where they had been unbeatable after moving into their new stadium, they’ve been unable to put away teams like Balmazújváros, Debrecen or Újpest in recent months.  If Haladás do stay up it won’t be because they won here. 

Prediction: Haladás 2-2 Mezőkövesd

NB1 Round 32 Preview

The picture is finally clearing as the teams approach the finish line.  With Újpest winning the Magyar Kupa this week there will be a mad dash for the final Europa League spot in the next two weeks.  We could see Videoton clinch the title this week, and we might finally sort out the complex puzzle at the other end of table as well. Surely another match day full of intense action ahead.  

Paul:  Chris, hard to believe only two weeks left in the season.  With Ferencváros drawing again, they find themselves three points behind Videoton.  Videoton holds tie breaker advantage (total wins) and one more win means they will be the champions.  Congratulations to Újpest for winning the Hungarian Cup and securing a place in Europe.  Honvéd have forged into third place by a point with a Europa League spot still up for grabs among three teams.  The relegation battle, barring any unforeseen outcomes, is down to Vasas, Balmazújváros, and Diósgyőr.  Let the predictions begin and let’s see what develops in Round 32.

Chris: Yeah it’s been another fun ride this season with plenty of drama, action and intensity.  One of the exciting things about NB1 is its propensity for surprises week in and week out.  We all had Mezőkövesd relegated in December and they’ve turned things around this spring while Vasas just couldn’t put the brakes on their descent.  It’s difficult enough to predict matches from week to week in this league, but it’s that very unpredictability that is so exciting at times. 

Sunday, 27 May

Vasas vs Haladás

at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest

Paul: Vasas have not won in their last five home matches.  They should be very offensive in this game as a result will help any chance of staying up in the first division.  A win is desperately needed but here the best they will do is a point.  

Haladás have lost their last two away matches in what should be an interesting tie against Vasas.  They are still technically in the relegation zone so a point in this match will help the cause to stay up in NB1.

Prediction: Vasas 1-1 Haladás

Chris: Michael Oenning must pull all the stops out here if Vasas are to stay up.  Bálint Gaál’s return to the lineup over the last couple of weeks should have him up to match fitness for this one and I’m predicting that he’ll play an important part.  Vasas won at home early in the season, but fell hard in Haladás’ new stadium 3-0 back in March. 

Haladás aren’t out of the woods by any stretch, and a stumble here could be costly for Michal Hipp’s side.  With only two points won out of a possible 15 in their last five, Haladás are a game away from being dragged into a nervy finish this season.  Karol Mészaros is unlikely to play after being injured last week against Újpest, but Peter Halmosi is in line for a return which should give them a boost.  Also, midfielder Lóránt Kovács should come into the squad after serving his suspension last week. 

Prediction: Vasas 2-1 Haladás

 Paks vs Balmazújváros

at Fehérvári úti, Paks

Paul:  Paks surprisingly have lost three of their last four home matches.  They face a desperate Balmazújváros squad that is hungry for points.  Paks should get back on the winning track with a decisive win here at home.

There is some life left in Balmazújváros as evidenced by their 4-0 thrashing of Debrecen.  Can they surprise again on the road?   They have lost three of their last four away matches so the odds are against them as they have been all season long.  As impressed as I was with last week's win, the numbers are against Balmazújváros.  

Prediction: Paks 3-1 Balmazújváros

Chris:  Unfortunately for Balmazújváros their time is running out.  They were impressive at home last week, hitting sinking Debrecen for four in front of over 1,800 of their faithful support but this week’s challenge comes against a team that is still fighting for a spot on the podium.  They are without a win over their last six away matches and will have to pull out a masterful performance to get anything here. 

Paks have been hot and cold all season long but they are still within a shout of Europa League qualification.  Aurel Csertoi’s team was held goalless for the first time in seven games against Diósgyor last week, falling (ironically) to an unfortunate own-goal by their own top scorer László Bartha.  They will be hungry.  In fact, it will be two wolves fighting over the same carcass. 

Prediction: Paks 1-1 Balmazújváros

Debrecen vs Puskás Akadémia

at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Paul: Debrecen were very flat in a big loss to Balmazújváros.  They catch Puskás at the right time and should take care of business here and secure the three points.  They should do just enough and win by a goal.  A spot in the Europa Liga is still possible and should be great motivation for this overachieving squad.

Does Puskás have anything left in the tank after their exciting Cup match against Újpest?  I have to give them credit for their spirited effort against the Lilak.  With a Europa League spot not in the cards, I see a tired effort from Puskás.   The season has been a great success with staying up in the NB1 and coming close to a Hungarian Cup.

Prediction: Debrecen 2-1 Puskás

Chris:  The look on Attila Pintér’s face at the end of the Magyar Kupa final said it all as ambition turned to disappointment after Filip Pajovic’s save on János Hegedus.  It was the Academy’s last best chance to go from promotion to Europe but they fell short at the final hurdle.  Now Puskás have an outside shot of obtaining third place but the stars must align perfectly and it starts by winning a tough game in Debrecen. 

Debrecen’s turnaround over the last few weeks hit a brick wall at Balmazújváros last week but they can keep pace for a final match-day showdown if they can get maximum points at home here.  Haris Tabakovic was silenced for the first time last week after a torrid stretch six goals in his previous three matches.  It will be interesting to see if they can bounce back against a team that has to be low on confidence and fuel. Winger Aleksandar Jovanovic's ankle injury has him out for the season, as Andras Herczeg's injury woes continue.

Prediction: Debrecen 2-2 Puskás

Mezőkövesd vs Újpest

at Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd

Paul: With three straight wins, Mezőkövesd have taken themselves out of the relegation zone.  They catch a Cup hungover Újpest squad at the right time and find their way to their fourth win in a row.  Not an exciting match but a win in the typical Mezőkövesd style. 

Újpest gave 110% and achieved their goal in winning the Hungarian Cup.  Does securing the 3rd place spot mean anything at this point?  Nebojsa Vignjević would justified in giving rest to several players and going with a fresh team.  What’s the worst that can happen?

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 1-0 Újpest

Chris: It was mission-accomplished for Nebojsa Vignjevic and his Lilák boys this week as they achieved their goal of getting back into Europe after a prolonged absence.  They are basking in the glow of their accomplishment this week but won’t forget Márk Koszta’s late brace in a 3-2 defeat against Mezőkövesd back in early March at Szusza Ferenc. It’s possible they will put some players in the shop window in the last two weeks of the season but that should field some hungry players. Donát Zsótér’s magnificent goal in the final was his second in two games and his stock has truly risen this season.  

Mezőkövesd aren’t mathematically safe so they won’t be sitting back in their final home match.   With three wins on the trot, Attila Kuttor’s squad will look to carry their momentum to an important three points if they have anything to say about it.  

I think this will be an entertaining match between a relaxed Újpest and a motivated Mezőkövesd.

Prediction:  Mezőkövesd 2-2 Újpest

Ferencváros vs Diósgyor 

at Groupama Arena, Budapest

Paul: After being in the driver’s seat, Ferencváros have drawn the last three weeks.  They  have seriously hampered their title hopes.  Now they must win both of their final matches and hope.  They must hope for a Vidi mistake somewhere  and win their final three matches.  I still believe Ferencváros are the best Hungarian team but last season the best team didn’t win either.  They win here and the excitement builds up in the chase for #1.

Diósgyőr took care of business at home with a nice victory over Paks.  Things get harder the next two weeks and every point counts.  I see a good effort here but Fradi are too tough at home and Diósgyőr lack the firepower to keep up in bright lights of the Groupama Arena. 

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-0 Diósgyor

Chris: Will Diósgyor’s safety be the sacrificial lamb for Ferencváros’ shot at the title?  The simple answer is yes.  Fernando’s side managed to hold off Paks last week on the strength of an own-goal meaning they’ve only scored one goal in their last five matches.  

Fradi are in rampage mode and they should at least repeat their home victory over DVTK back in September.  It’s all or nothing here for Thomas Doll’s champion hopes and they’ll put the pressure on Videoton after it’s all said and done. 

Prediction: Ferencváros 2-0 Diósgyor

Videoton vs Honvéd

at Pancho Arena, Felcsút 

Paul: Videoton have only drawn at home once in their last five home matches.  A win here secures the title.  This will be a hard fought entertaining match.  The title will be decided in the last match of the season just like last year.

Minus a home blip against Debrecen, Honvéd have improved their play lately.  Of course, this coincides with the improved play of  Davide Lanzafame.  Honvéd will make things difficult for Videoton with the masterful Lanzafame baffling the Videoton defense.

Prediction: Videoton 2-2 Honvéd

Chris: Honvéd stepped up big time last week to put a huge dent in Ferencváros’ title hopes.  With no hope of retaining their title, Kispest can play spoilers again this week by cutting Videoton down to size as well.  That will be a huge ask, however, as Videoton’s dominant home form has been a hallmark this season in NB1.  

This is the second season in a row where this fixture will loom large in deciding the champions.  

Videoton have conceded just two goal in their last ten league matches and none in their last five home matches. Marko Nikolic will have a rested Danko Lazovic and Marko Scepovic this week, but I think the chaos that is the Hungarian top flight will have its say and push the title decider to the final week.

Prediction: Videoton 0-0 Honvéd (don’t shoot the messenger)

NB1 Round 31 Preview

There are nine points on offer in the final three weeks of the NB1 season and the bottom five clubs are only separated by five points.  This will be an important weekend to determine who is staying up and going down.   Also, at the top of the table, the barroom brawl between Ferencváros and Videoton continues as Vasas pulled off a late minute surprise to deny Fradi the top spot.  With just one point separating the two it should be a fantastic race to the finish line.

Chris: Looks like I’ll be alone in my predictions this week but let’s not let that ruin a perfectly good preview.  

Paul:  Wait. Wait. Sorry Chris, Here I am and I apologize for my tardiness...  It looks like we have three distinct battles in NB1: the battle for the championship, two Europa Liga spots and the battle to stay in NB1.  Ferencvaros and Videoton changed places with Fradi’s surprise draw against Vasas. The battle for Europe is open to three clubs. Videoton or Fradi will gain one as the 2nd place finisher.   One spot will come from the winner of the Hungarian Cup and the last, the next highest placed club. The relegation zone is still open but Diosgyor and Balmazújváros appear as the runner runners  for those two spots. A lot will depend on difficulty of the individual match-ups in the final three games  Let’s put our seats in the upright position as the final three weeks of the season will be anything but a smooth ride.  Expect some turbulence and excitement! And Upsets.

Saturday, 19 May

Balmazújváros vs Debrecen

at Balmazújváros  Városi Sportpálya, Balmazújváros

Paul:  Chris, I agree this is the last stand for Balmazújváros.  They come out in this match  with everything they have this week.   They better as this is a a do or die match.   Ferenc Horváth rallies the troops and they come up with a big win.  With their last home match against Ferencváros, they need a home win to keep their first division hopes alive.  This is the first of a few upset choices. My first crazy “palinka pick”.

Debrecen took care of business with a win over Diósgyor.  It wasn’t the most impressive effort even with a man up advantage in the first minute.    Haris Tabakovic is on fire and scored two goals again.  Norbert Könyves came on late and appears fit.   Interesting to see if both can co-exist on the pitch.   The club is due for a let down.

Prediction:  Balmazújváros 2-1 Debrecen

Chris:  This is it for Ferenc Horváth and his band of freedom fighters at Balmazújváros.  The club’s inaugural season in the top flight hasn’t been a disaster but they cannot afford to slip up - especially with their final game being against title-hungry Ferencváros.  There’s a lot pressure here for the hosts to win, and that’s something they’ve only achieved in the league once since February.  The good news is that Ervin Zsiga and Bachana Arabuli, who both came on as second half substitutes last week, are ready for full selection this week.  Arabuli leads the team with seven goals scored. 

Debrecen have won their last two games and are currently clinging to third place.  It can be argued that they should have defeated Diósgyor last week by a much larger margin after playing against ten men for 90 minutes, but they only managed to score twice.  Haris Tabakovic is seriously on fire, scoring a brace in his last three games.  Loki will be waiting on late fitness tests for injured players Ádám Bódi and János Ferenczi.  

I think the freedom fighters will call upon their home support to get them over the line here. 

Prediction: Balmazújváros 2-1 Debrecen

Diósgyor vs Paks

at Diósgyor Stadion, Miskolc

Paul:  Diósgyőr had a hard luck loss against Debrecen and actually outplayed them at times despite being a man down for 89 minutes!  They had at least three shots hit the post if I recall correctly. With their last two matches against Fradi and Vidi, the club will win in their second match in their new home.   Even three points here may not be enough. “Palinka” pick #2.

Paks seem to do the opposite of my predictions.   They were outplayed by Honved and came back to earth.   They will have a tough go against a Diósgyőr club playing for their lives and for some frustrated fans.  They will be down early in this one and never find the goal.

Prediction:  Diósgyor 1-0 Pak

Chris:  Diósgyor were hardly given a chance last week, playing with ten men from the first minute against Loki’s white-hot Haris Tabakovic.  This week they’ll have to make due without center back Márk Tamás who will be suspended after his professional foul against Diósgyor.  On top of that, starting goalkeeper Botond Antal was injured this week and won’t be available to play on Saturday.  New boss Fernando has had his side playing better since he took over but the reality is that they are currently riding a run of six straight defeats and relegation is looking more and more likely unless they can pull themselves out of this dive.  

Paks were brought back down to earth last week against Honvéd.  After consecutive 1-0 wins over Videoton and Vasas they were unable to take advantage of Honvéd’s poor defensive record and lost their fifth home game of the season - a huge change from last season’s Paks team who lost just once at home and conceded 9 goals there all season. 

This is the weekend for the fighters and Diósgyor will get their first win at their new stadium. 

Prediction: Diósgyor 1-0 Paks

Puskás Akadémia vs Mezőkövesd

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

Paul:  Puskás are finally safe  after spending much of the season in the relegation zone.  With no losses in their last five matches, they are ending the year just right.   Can they continue? Wouldn’t it be crazy if they won the Cup? Yes crazy but not impossible.

Mezőkövesd stepped up and defeated fellow newcomers Balmazújváros to help out their first division hopes.  This should be a very vanilla match with few goals scored. It works for both clubs.

Prediction:  Puskás Akadémia 1-1 Mezőkövesd

Chris:  In a preview of the Magyar Kupa final next week, Puskás defeated Újpest 1-0 last week to all but secure their safety in NB1 for another season.  With four wins in their last six games they have definitely been one of the in-form teams in the league and they haven’t lost at home since early December.  Ezekiel Henty, having joined from Videoton over the winter break, has scored six goals in all competitions and has been a galvanizing player in the squad.

With consecutive wins in the past two weeks, Mezőkövesd have pulled themselves out of the basement and on the cusp of safety.  Both teams need a point here and Puskás are likely to rest some key players with a big game on Wednesday ahead of them.

Prediction: Puskás 1-1 Mezőkövesd

Haladás vs Újpest

at Szombathelyi Haladás Stadion, Haladás


Paul:  Haladás are back home again after being routed by Videoton.  Staying up isn’t a certainty but things set up nicely with two home matches in the next three weeks.   Hali will take care of the Lilak who are in a daze looking ahead to the big day.

Újpest is playing like a team that is looking forward their wedding day.  In this case, their wedding day is the Hungarian Cup tie coming up soon against Puskás Akadémia.   They did not show anything last week and should be in for a tough match against a gritty Haladás club.  

Prediction:  Haladás 2-0 Újpest

Chris:  Haladás had a match to forget last week as they fell hard to Videoton and lost defensive midfielder Lóránt Kovács to suspension as he picked up a second yellow card with 20 minutes to play in the 3-0 defeat in Felcsút.  Their match against Újpest comes at a time when they are nearly over the line in terms of safety while Lilák are still seeking a place on the podium as well as a Magyar Kupa title. Both teams have enjoyed home success against the other with David Williams getting the winner in September and Újpest’s Soma Novothny scored in the game in Budapest. 

Lilák are in need of a win after a disappointing home defeat to Puskás last week.  Nebojsa Vignjevic’s squad have had a difficult time finding the back of the net in recent weeks with just two goals in their last four games.  

I don’t see Haladás losing at home and I can’t see Lilák reversing their scoring woes in this one.  

Prediction:  Haladás 2-1 Újpest 

Vasas vs Videoton 

at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest

Vasas- Videoton

Paul:  Vasas stood tough against Ferencvaros and scored an exciting last minute goal to draw.  Things don’t get easier this week against Videoton even at home. I see a little battle at the start  but even securing a draw here is a bit too much to ask of Vasas.

Videoton are back in first place and now control their fate.   Quite simply, win your last three matches and you are the champions!  Things are never that simple in Hungarian football. I do see a win here but things will come down to the round 33.  It has to be...

Prediction: Vasas 1-3 Videoton

Chris:  Tamás Egerszegi scored a last-gasp winner to deny Ferencváros maximum points last week at Groupama Aréna.  That goal also gave Vasas an important point to pull them out of the danger zone at the bottom of the table.  Vasas can’t afford to drop points and are playing another massive game this week against the other title-chasers Videoton.  They’ll be without defensive midfielder Maté Vida who picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in last week’s draw.  They’ve struggled with injuries for most of the spring and saw Benedek Murka and Felix Burmeister leave the game early with knocks last week.

Videoton cruised against Haladás last week to take over first place in the league.  Last season’s runners-up showed their depth with Boban Nikolov, Loïc Nego and Máté Pátkai all scoring as leading scorers Danko Lazovic and Marko Scepovic had the day off.  

Videoton have had their fair share of slips away from home this season and Vasas have their tails up in a dogfight for NB1 survival. 

Prediction: Vasas 2-2 Videoton

Honvéd vs Ferencváros

at Bozsik József Stadion, Budapest (TV: M4 Sport)


Paul:  Honvéd seem to play better away than home.  They took all three points against Paks and put themselves back into the battle for a European place.  I see a fun game here as goals will be scored. Davide Lanzafame will score two to keep things exciting but their porous defense will be the difference.

Ferencváros were very lackluster against Vasas.   They fell asleep in the last minute and lost some valuable points.  They must hope for a Vidi mistake somewhere and win their final three matches.  I still believe Ferencváros are the best Hungarian team but last season the best team didn’t win either.  They win here and the excitement builds up in the chase for #1.

Prediction:  Honvéd 2-3 Ferencváros

Chris:  Ferencváros will be happy to copy their last performance at Bozsik József Stadion to erase a tough home result last week.  Fradi defeated Kispest 3-1 back in September and then smashed them at home 5-2 in February.  With just one win in their last five games they need to start winning or else they’ll be in danger of falling out of contention for the championship. 

Honvéd rebounded from a disappointing defeat at home to Debrecen to win at Paks last week.  David Lanzafame was back in the goals with a brace - his first multi-goal game since November.  

Fradi have won eight of the last seven meetings against Honvéd whose only win in that span was last April at Bozsik.  I haven’t been comfortable with Kispest’s defense all season.  They are tied for second highest goals conceded in the league (49) and lead the league in goals conceded at home (28).   Last season they had conceded just 30 total goals and just nine at home. 

Prediction: Honvéd 1-2 Ferencváros

NB1 Round 30 Preview

Here we go. Just four more games and still so much to determine. Last week’s anticipated ‘match of the week’ was not the showcase of the beautiful game and did not flatter the state of club football in Hungary. All of that is in the rearview mirror now as we look ahead to Round 30.

Paul: Chris, compliments on a good week of predictions for you in Round 29.  You were spot on in the Videoton/Ferencváros match which had an amazing combined 13 yellow cards. The final four matches should be interesting as each club plays three of the same teams. A low number of total goals scored once again with 13 goals.  Watching the game highlights, the lack of quality finishing is amazing. I will leave the stats to Chris and rely on my “Hungarian” feelings from now on in my predictions.  Sometimes in life, feelings take precedence over facts.  I was totally wrong again on my “upsets of the week”, and don’t feel any this week.    I feel for the fans of Diósgyőr as they welcomed a beautiful new stadium only to lose to Mezőkövesd.  Paks continues to impress and may just find themselves with a European place. The relegation battle  is down to about 4 clubs (Vasas, Diósgyőr, Mezőkövesd, Balmazújváros). I really feel that one of the promoted teams and an established first division club will fall this season.  Once again who knows what will happen in Hungary, but it is the unpredictable that defines Hungarian football.

Chris: Well, nothing changed at the top after the ‘Folly at Felcsút’ last week, while Mezőkövesd climbed up from the bottom and found temporary safety. There was midweek glory for Puskás and Újpest who punched their tickets to the Magyar Kupa Final. We get a preview of the cup final this week as the two finalists square off against each other in the capital.
As this season nears its climax it’s a bit strange to see Paks in third place, but they’ve taken advantage of a lot of mediocrity among the ‘middle of the pack’ teams and earn their spot on the podium. Let’s take a closer look at this week’s games.

Saturday, 12 May

Debrecen vs Diósgyor
at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Paul: Debrecen is like the boxer who is knocked down again and again.  Yet, they never complain and show up week after week. Like a good Hungarian, they endure the blows, sometimes fall, but get back up again.   Much of this has to be attributed to their manager, András Herczeg, who finds ways to win despite the injuries and the odds.  Norbert Könyves was out again but Haris Tabakovic has filled in splendidly, scoring 4 goals in his last two matches.  Debrecen will do just enough to win this match and I dare say Mr. Tabakovic will score again.
Diósgyőr had everything going for them last week:  new stadium, new coach, and over 12,000 fans in attendance.  What did they do? The opposite of what I imagined, they lost!  Relegation is a reality in Miskolc. I don’t see things improving at all as Diósgyőr lack any offensive punch and even a single goal allowed can equal a loss for this bunch.
Prediction: Debrecen 2-1 Diósgyor

Chris: Loki managed just their second victory since December by defeating champions Honvéd, putting them back within touching distance of a spot in the Europa League. They have split their previous two matches against Diósgyor this season - each winning at home.
Diósgyor have dropped three straight by a 1-0 scoreline and have lost their last five, pushing them further and further into a relegation dogfight.
Debrecen will enjoy home comforts here.
Prediction: Debrecen 2-1 Diósgyor

Mezőkövesd vs Balmazújváros
at Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd

Paul: In my mind this is the game of the week, not for the quality of play but for the implications of the result.  A loss by either side equals relegation. A bit harsh but reality is reality. Mezőkövesd spoiled the opening of Diósgyőr’s new stadium. They have not been very good at home but I see Balmazújváros taking some chances which will open up some great chances for goals by the home club.
To be truthful, I don’t want to see any club relegated but that is the beauty of football as opposed to the  other sports I follow. I can’t see Balmazújváros even securing a point here as they have lost four of their last five away matches.  I see a let down after their midweek Cup semifinal loss which was their “match of the season.” No matter the result, they fought hard in the NB1 and made for some fun matches.  I have enjoyed watching the club but they don’t have enough to stay up this year. Ferenc Horváth is a very good coach and has gotten out everything he could from this squad.  With this loss, relegation is almost certain.
Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-0 Balmazújváros

Chris: Mezőkövesd got their first win in six games last week to jump out of the relegation zone for the first time since March. Balmazújváros battled bravely for a point against Újpest but they know they need to start winning before they sink their way into NB2. I agree with Paul that this will be the game of the week as both sides are desperate for points
Prediction: Mezőkövesd 1-1 Balmazújváros

Paks vs Honvéd
at Fehérvári úti, Paks

Paul: I keep looking for a Paks letdown that has not happened.  Last week against Videoton, Paks had a different game plan with a strong defensive show  and a winning goal in their counter attacking style. This week the goals should be easier to come by against a Honvéd defense prone to giving up goals in bunches.
Just when I start to believe in Honvéd and see them earning a place in Europe, they fall flat on their faces and lose at home to Debrecen.  They have been poor away from home and coupled with the home form of Paks should lead to a Paks win. I see this as the highest scoring match of the week but with Paks a goal better.
Prediction: Paks 3-2 Honvéd

Chris: Paks can sniff a spot in Europe and they’ll keep the good times rolling once more at home. Honvéd crashed hard last week and they’ll be hard-pressed to get a result here.

Prediction: Paks 1-0 Honvéd

Újpest vs Puskás Akadémia
at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest

Paul: Who would have thought that these two clubs would be playing eventually for the Hungarian Cup?   Me neither. I don’t see Újpest showing much in this clash after having played midweek.  One would think the Cup would be more important to the Lilak but why not win it and a 3rd place in NB1 as well?
Puskás Akadémia came into their semi final  Cup match against Debrecen with a four goal advantage so even losing by 2 goals was enough to make it to the final against the Lilak.  Amazingly, love him or hate him, Attila Pintér has now made it to Cup finals with 5 different clubs.  I don’t see either club showing their hands this week in poker terms.   A tie is fine for both clubs in what should be an uninspiring match. The great play better come out in the Cup Final on the 23rd of May.
Prediction: Újpest 1-1 Puskás Akadémia

Chris: This is the match Nebojsa Vignjevic needs to intimidate Puskás before the Magyar Kupa final and I thin Lilák will be turning last week’s near-misses into goals. Puskás struggle against the better teams away and they’ll see an energized Újpest side here.
Prediction: Újpest 3-1 Puskás Akadémia

Videoton vs Haladás
at Pancho Arena, Felcsút

Paul: Videoton were lucky not to lose against Ferencváros last week.  They still have a shot at the title but they must win their final four matches and hope for a Fradi falter.  Danko Lazovics will be out for a while after his childlike tantrums on the pitch. Big players come up big in big matches, not the opposite.   Videoton should do enough to keep their title chase alive. It won’t be pretty but three points is a must from now on...
Haladás upheld their home form and took care of business last week against the “Academy.” They look to be safe from relegation barring a complete breakdown.   I came very close to choosing this match as the “upset of the week” and would have had the match taken place in Szombathely.
Prediction: Videoton 2-1 Haladás

Chris: Unfortunately for Haladás, Videoton don’t lose at home. Hali did win their last meeting at home, but Videoton beat them handily in Felcsút back in September. I can’t see anything other than a win for Videoton here, but it won’t be impressive.
Prediction: Videoton 1-0 Haladás

Ferencváros vs Vasas
at Groupama Aréna, Budapest (TV: M4 Sport)

Paul: Ferencváros should have defeated Videoton and had so many scoring  chances. Roland Varga missed several spot on opportunities.  At least this way the title is still up for grabs with some excitement.   Of course if Fradi win their final four matches, there will be no question as to the champion.  Ferencváros have yet to lose a match at home and it won’t happen this week against Vasas in a Budapest derby.  This match will be more difficult for Fradi due to all their injuries but Roland Varga scores two this week to regain his goal scoring form.
Vasas came back to earth in losing valuable points at home to Paks.   I see the “Iron and Metal Workers” club giving Fradi a tough scoreless first half.   Derby elation will last 45 minutes until Ferencváros wake up and take care of business.  Relegation is becoming a possibility for a club that only last season played in Europe.
Prediction: Ferencváros 2-0 Vasas

Chris: Despite their thinned ranks due to injuries, Fradi will take all the points here in a game that won’t ever get out of their grasp. Ferencváros have been unstoppable at home and have averaged over three goals scored in their last seven home matches. Vasas won their last away match a fortnight ago but this is a completely different situation.
Prediction: Ferencváros 3-0 Vasas

NB1 Round 29 Preview

Paks’ heroic victory over Videoton allowed Ferencváros to slip into the top spot one week after they stumbled. With just five matches remaining and just three points separating the bottom five there is still a lot to play for.  Let’s take a more comprehensive look at this week’s matchups. 


Paul:  Chris, I’m writing this a little early this week, in fact on a Tuesday due to taking 6th grade students to Yosemite National Park for the week.  With questionable internet and a possible good performance maybe I’ll make this a regular occurrence?   The number of goals jumped from 6 to 17 and with no scoreless draws.   Diósgyőr have their new stadium ready for a grand opening against Mezőkövesd, who graciously allowed them to use their grounds for  home matches in the last year plus.  The marquee matchup, Ferencváros-Videoton, is finally here.  Part of me would like the champion determined on the last match of the season but its not to be.  Not sure if last seasons exciting finale will ever be repeated. I still think regardless of the outcome, the championship will not be entirely sewn up yet.  Paks has shown again that anyone can beat anyone, anywhere and anytime in the NB1. “Survivor” becomes reality as any of five clubs are in contention for relegation.

Chris: Maybe Paul has something up his sleeve by making his predictions early.  We shall see.  In the meantime I’m still trying to get over Paks’s win over Vidi.  Vasas’ win last week pulled them up from the drop zone and they’ll be entertaining a buoyant Paks squad in the capital on Saturday.  I agree with Paul that any result in the game of the week won’t decide anything but a win by Fradi will really put the pressure on last season’s runners-up.

Saturday, 5 May

Honvéd vs Debrecen

at Bozsik József Stadion, Budapest

Paul: Honvéd posted an impressive away win at Mezőkövesd and now find themselves with a legitimate chance at a place in Europe.  Davide Lanzafame is back as evidenced by his two goals scored last week.  Look for Lanzafame to continue his goal scoring form and make a claim for the goal scoring title.  Honvéd plays Debrecen at the right time and should have no trouble securing another win.

Debrecen has a ton of injuries as Chris brought up last week.  Where does he get his inside information? Ádám Bódi sadly is out for the rest of the season.  I still can’t figure out Videoton spending such a high transfer fee on him yet giving up on him so soon.    Norbert Könyves started but was brought off after only 15 minutes.  Haris Tabakovic scored twice and now looks like the only source of real offense for Loki.  Fortunately, Debrecen have enough points to stay up and we see now that manager András Herczeg was correct when he stated avoiding relegation was the reality.

Prediction: Honvéd 3-1 Debrecen

Chris: Kispest have been there or thereabouts as they continue to sniff out a spot on the podium at the end of the season.  Only two weeks since mid-March have they been more than a point out of third place, but their away win at Mezőkövesd showed grit and heart last week as they held off a desperate team in a game that saw nine yellow cards.  Honvéd’s record at home is the same as on the road.  In fact, they have a better goal differential away from home this season.  

Debrecen has had Honvéd’s number all season, winning both of their previous meetings (1-0 and 3-1 respectively).  Loki are arguably a better team away from home and have played much better defensively conceding the least amount of away goals outside of the top three.   Most of my inside information comes from my pre-match phone calls with each of the managers. 

I’m sensing disappointment for the hosts in this one as Honvéd seem to come down after a win.  The last time they won two games in succession was in late October.  

Prediction: Honvéd 2-2 Debrecen


Vasas vs Paks

at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest

Paul:  No way did I see Vasas scoring three goals last week against Debrecen, let alone win the match.  I will challenge Chris, our stat guru, to find out this when Vasas last tallied three goals. Vasas do have the disadvantage of not playing true home matches this season.    They do have a difficult final five matches with four of them against Top 5 clubs.   Any point will help at this stage of the season.

What can I say about  Paks?  The last two weeks were masterful performances against the big two:  Ferencváros and Videoton.  I’ve said it again and again but Aurél Csertői is a master at getting the most out of his players.  Can they do it again or will they play to the level of their opponent?  I have to admit that I am somewhat a closet Paks fan ( I love the underdogs) but I must pick an “upset of the week” and this match is the ONE.  

Prediction: Vasas 2-1 Paks

Chris:  Paul, you’d have to go all the way back to 18 November when Vasas last scored three goals in a 3-3 draw against Mezőkövesd.  Vasas’ attack was much better earlier this season and, in a stretch of four games in late August/early September, they scored 12 goals in four games including a 4-1 demolition of Honvéd.   Last week's win was vital as they pulled out of danger after three weeks in the relegation zone.  They’ll be without talented forward Martin Ádám after his dismissal last week. Michael Oenning had four players named to the Team of the Week so they’ll feel confident heading into this one. 

Paks pulled off a stunning win over then-leaders Videoton with a defensive effort that had echoes of last season’s stifling performances.  Both teams have traded 3-1 results with the hosts winning each time this season.  I’m banking on Vasas to nip this one in a close game.

Prediction: Vasas 2-1 Paks

Diósgyor vs Mezőkövesd

at Diósgyőri Stadion, Miskolc

Paul: Diósgyőr’s days of playing “away” home matches in Debrecen and Mezőkövesd are over!   Welcome to another new stadium in Hungary!  This one is rightly earned for some of the best football fans in Hungary.  I’ve only been in the old stadium once, witnessing the 1990 Cup Final between Ferencváros and Vác.    If you do get the chance to take a peek at the empty stadium somewhere on the internet, please do!  The new stadium is beautiful and the “12th man” the fan will “will” the squad to win in their inaugural home match.  Miskolc will be rocking a full house and the “Haladas” effect will be in full effect here.

Not quite fair to Mezőkövesd to play the inaugural match Diósgyőr is it? They did loan out their home to this weeks opponent for a good part of the season.  Alls fair in love and football, right?  As good as Mezőkövesd were in a ten game span, they are now in the midst of a five game winless streak.  Their last win came against Debrecen on St. Patrick’s day.  Not the best time for a team hoping to stay up in NB1 to lose their form.

Prediction: Diósgyor 2-0 Mezőkövesd

Chris:  I fully understand the sentiment of Diósgyor playing well for their fans in Miskolc at their new stadium but I still can’t get past their recent troubles both on and off the pitch.  Even though they kept things close in their last two games they haven’t scored in 223 minutes.  In fact, they scored just 5 goals in their last seven games.  Leading scorer Roland Ugrai was suspended last week against Újpest due to yellow card accumulation, but he’s only scored once in his last eight appearances.   New manager Fernando had his club playing above average in his first game in control, but the attack is lacking that killer instinct. 

Mezőkövesd has lost just once in their last six away games and are scratching and clawing to stay up for a second consecutive season.  Attila Kuttor’s side have ground out results and were unlucky to not have picked up a point against Honvéd last week.  

Prediction: Diósgyor 1-1 Mezőkövesd

Balmazújváros vs Újpest

at Balmazújváros Stadion, Balmazújváros

Paul: Balmazújváros are somehow still in the hunt in the Hungarian game of “Survivor.” As readers know, I love the underdog but I’m losing my patience with the club. This is where I think the number of matches will affect both promoted clubs. Balmazújváros could easily upset Lilák at home and I would not be surprised. After picking them to upset Puskás last week, I cannot do it again. 

Újpest did not look very impressive in defeating Diósgyőr but a win is a win is a win.  Both sides will attack and as a result this will be a match with plenty of goals and dare I say, the most goals of the week.  A late penalty kick by Soma Novothny wins it in the final minute for the Lilak.

Prediction: Balmazújváros 2-3 Újpest

Chris: Nebojsa Vignjevic looked sharp in his light blue blazer last week, but his squad’s finishing must be cause for concern for him.  Újpest were dominant in terms of creating chances against DVTK and it almost seemed more difficult for them to miss the chances they created than to actually score.  Bizarre, I know!    With the second leg of the Magyar Kupa semifinal between these two next week it will be interesting to see how each team approaches this one.  Lilák have the the inside course on third place in the league, and a 2-1 first leg lead in the cup doesn’t assure them of a place in the final yet. 

For Balmazújváros, they have slipped back into the relegation zone and must be prioritizing the league at this point.  They fell hard against fellow promotees Puskás last week in a match they had a chance to pick up points in.  They are unbeaten in their last six home games and will put in a tough performance ahead of their rematch on Wednesday.  

Prediction:  Balmazújváros 2-2 Újpest

Haladás vs Puskás Akadémia 

at Szombathelyi Haladás Stadion, Haladás. 

Paul: Has the honeymoon effect of a new stadium worn off for Haladás?   Two straight draws after three wins in a row to open their new digs.  Michal Hipp hopes to bring the “away” mentality back to the grounds of Szombathely. They did make things very difficult for Fradi.

Puskás Akadémia have to be commended for their fine form of late.  Yes it’s the team with few fans, a beautiful stadium and a manager not beloved in Hungary to say the least.  Yet, Attila Pintér like a fine mechanic has made adjustments week to week in his squad that while not producing a Porsche is a serviceable Toyota.    In an unprecedented move by yours truly , I will make a second “upset of the week” selection. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, right? 

Prediction: Haladás 1-2 Puskás

Chris: I have to disagree with Paul on this one.  Haladás are still unbeaten at home since they moved into their new stadium and they took an early lead against Ferencváros last week at Groupama before conceding a 68th minute backbreaker in a valiant effort. 

Their worst defeat of the season came at the hands of Puskás 5-1 when the season was still new, but they defeated them 3-1 at Pancho Arena in December.  David Williams showed he can still be counted on as their main scorer getting his first goal in just his second start of the Spring. 

Puskás are in a rich vein of form, but their wins have all come against teams in the bottom half of the table.  I’m not as impressed as Paul is about the Academy of late but that doesn’t detract from them getting points when expected.  I just don’t see them winning here. 

Prediction: Haladás 2-1 Puskás

Videoton vs Ferencváros

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút (TV: M4 Sport)

Paul: Videoton looked dreadful in losing to Paks last week. Perhaps they were looking ahead to this match? Points lost matter, no matter whom they come against. Danko Lazovics was sorely missed after sitting out due to yellow cards. Videoton seem tired to me and I don’t see much urgency and creativity lately out of the squad.  Strong manager please step forward!

Ferencváros had to work hard to defeat a determined Haladás side but earned the required three points.   Fradi have so many ways to score goals that it makes them such a difficult side to defend.  Yes, Dániel Böde and Roland Varga score the majority of goals, but key on them and a number of other players can step up.  Both sides play cautious resulting in a tactical, card filled match.

Prediction: Videoton 1-1 Ferencváros

Chris: This will be the worst match of the season hands down.  It will be like two boxers waiting for the other to take the first swing and it will end poorly … for the spectators.   Each team has won 3-1 in their home stadium, but his time neither will flinch.  

Prediction: Videoton 0-0 Ferencváros

NB1 Round 28 preview

Just six goals were scored last week in all of Round 27 which was easily the least goals scored in any round so far this season.  However, just one goal made any significant difference and that was Marko Scepovic’s 10th of the season for Videoton as he scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Debrecen to take over the top spot in NB1. Read on for a complete look at this week’s action in Hungary’s top flight.

Paul:  Chris, Round 27 is very difficult to sugar coat so I won’t even attempt to add some sweetness.  The lowest number of goals scored in any round in the 2017-2018 season.  Three goalless draws and a total of only six goals scored.  One of the most lackluster Saturdays in recent memory.  I’m not sure if it was great goalkeeping or poor finishing.  Jumping around in the viewing of the matches, I’m more prone to side with poor finishing.    Diósgyőr, after three straight losses, fired manager Tamás Bódog much to the chagrin of many fans who protested the decision.  Out of curiosity how many managerial changes have there been in NB1 this season?  Answer after Ferencváros-Haladás prediction.

Chris: It was anything but the “beautiful game” last week, but Videoton made it count as they muscled through a tough battle against a pesky Debrecen to grab first place in the League.  Bódog’s dismissal was rough but understandable as the team hasn’t improved as much as they had hoped and they find themselves perilously close to the same position they were at this point last season when he was brought in.  I know Paul will agree that anything will be better than last week’s display.  For our viewing’s sake, let’s hope so. 

Saturday, 28 April

Paks vs Videoton

at Pasksi Stadion, Paks

Paul: Paks almost pulled off one of the upsets of the year against Ferencváros.  A late penalty and quite a bit of stoppage time proved to be too much for a miracle at Groupama Arena.  I have to commend manager Aurél Csertői for a masterful attacking game plan against the Green Eagles.  I see a natural let down for Paks in this match as they played their hearts out against Fradi.

Videoton is back in the top position but has not looked too impressive the last few weeks.  It was an ugly win against Debrecen with a goal that was perhaps not rightly allowed.  Ugly wins count just as much as a five goal domination.  Videoton have not been very dynamic lately scoring a majority of their goals on set pieces and corner kicks.  They catch Paks at the right time and should secure a hard found, “ugly” win.

Prediction: Paks 1-2 Videoton

Chris: Goalkeeper Gergo Rácz made his debut in last week’s draw against his former team Ferencváros and made a good showing of himself.  It was Paks’ first point in three games as they seemed to emerge from their current funk.  They will face a Videoton side they haven’t defeated since 2015 and whom they’ve lost their last two meetings against. 

Videoton’s game-winner Marko Scepovic was the hero against Debrecen last week but also exited the game early due to injury.  The pacesetters have plenty of options to choose up front if he can’t return, however, and they have been in stellar form of late.  They did fail to take maximum points at Mezőkövesd a fortnight ago and were only able to manage one goal at home against Debrecen last week. 

I think Paks plays tough at home against they and can get a result against Vidi here. 

Prediction: Paks 1-1 Videoton


Debrecen vs Vasas

at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Paul:  Debrecen had a tough luck loss to Videoton on a disputed goal.   They matched Videoton punch for punch in boxing terms.   I’m not sure if Norbert Könyves returns this match but Debrecen will come out on the offensive and defeat Vasas in comfortable fashion.  They will find a way to score here whether it be by head or by foot.

Michael Oenning still finds himself with a job at Vasas.   Vasas have not won in their last five matches and the situation won’t improve this week.  Their three defender system should open up holes for Debrecen to exploit as Újpest did two weeks ago.  Vasas will be shut out as Debrecen spends most of the match on the Vasas side of the pitch.  

Prediction: Debrecen 2-0 Vasas

Chris:  Loki will be itching for a comeback this week as they are smarting from a narrow defeat in Felcsút.  However, Debrecen will be without a number of players.  János Ferenczi and Ádám Bódi are injured, Kevin Varga's fifth yellow card has him suspended and Balázs Bényei, Justin Mengolo and Norbert Könyves are also questionable with knocks. I don’t see where the offense is coming with all these absences.

Vasas kept their first clean sheet since late October last week, earning a point against fellow strugglers Mezőkövesd.  At the bottom of the table, a defeat will be huge blow as the season is winding down.  They need a result in the worst way.  Midfielder Zsombor Berecz is struggling with injury and looks to be out for Saturday’s game. 

This is a coin flip for me as Loki haven’t won at home since December and look more like The Walking Dead than a football team.  Draw. 

Prediction: Debrecen 1-1 Vasas

Mezőkövesd vs Honvéd

at Varosi Stadion, Mezőkövesd

Paul: Mezőkövesd  has played two scoreless draws in a row.  Against Videoton, they actually had a chance to pull the upset.  They have only one win  at home in their last five matches.   The magic appears to have left the club which had a magical run midseason but now are  struggling for survival.

Honvéd was once again lackluster against Újpest and the “lackluster” adjective is becoming my “go to”  term in describing last year’s champions.   After the number of goalless draws last week, there has to be one this week, right?  Why not make it this match?   Or it well could be a 3-3 high scoring affair with goals galore, which of course is preferable by far.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 0-0 Honvéd

Chris:  Five of Mezőkövesd’s last ten league games have ended 0-0 which proves they can play some good defensive football when they want.  In the other five they’ve conceded 11 goals which just goes to show you that anything can happen in this league (but you already knew that).  

Honvéd’s third match in a row without a victory last week against Újpest saw them miss a chance to jump into third place.  They are also six games without a victory away and will be looking for their first away win since late October when they travel to Mezőkövesd on Saturday.  These two have traded 2-1 results at the other’s stadium so far this season and I’m in agreement with Paul that the two will share the spoils, but there will be goals. 

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-2 Honvéd

Újpest vs Diósgyor

at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest

Paul: Újpest must be excited to catch Diósgyőr in the midst of a coaching change.   Normally a coaching change provides a club with a temporary shot in the arm but I don’t see that happening in this case.   Look for Újpest to welcome Fernando to the Hungarian managerial  ranks with a dominating win.  Soma Novothny adds to his goal totals and the Lilak control the match throughout.

In any sport when a team is performing poorly the manager takes the blame as the players can’t be fired.  Diósgyőr’s policy of buying only free transfer players literally make things difficult for a club that deserves more.  I continue to be a fan of Tamás Bódog and know he will continue his career next season in Hungary or elsewhere.  In his defense, during his Diósgyőr tenure, his teams never played a single home match.  Diósgyőr welcome new manager Fernando who played for the club in 2012-2013 season.  His prior coaching experience was last season at a  fourth division club in Spain, El Palo.  Not the most impressive managerial experience but we shall see...

Prediction: Újpest 3-1 Diósgyor

Chris: It’s on.  This will be the game that Lilák stake their claim for the Europa League as they take advantage of a team in turmoil.  Considering all of the other draws in the league last week, Újpest did well not to allow Kispest to leapfrog them.  They have another route to Europe through the cup but I think Nebojsa Vignjevic would like to keep his options open by setting the pace in third.  

Diósgyor are six games without a win and it’s anyone’s guess as to how they’ll respond to Bódog’s dismissal but they haven’t defeated Újpest in two games this season and will need to conjure up something we haven’t seen much from them recently - offense.    

Prediction:  Újpest 2-1 Diósgyor


Puskás Akadémia vs Balmazújváros

at Pancho Arena, Felcsut. 

Paul: Puskás Akadémia continued its good form with an “away” win versus Diósgyőr.  In their usual fashion, Puskás won in a low scoring match with an early goal by ex-Debrecen player Péter Szakály.  They are due for a goose egg in more ways than one.

Balmazújváros find themselves away again after earning a draw against Haladás.  Quite a good achievement after even the big boys Videoton and Ferencváros left Szombathely with losses.  I’m still looking for a correct “upset of the week” choice, and Balmazújváros will finally prove me correct. 

Prediction: Puskás 0-1 Balmazújváros

Chris: Puskás are five games without defeat in all competitions and have one step in the Magyar Kupa final after a 4-0 win over Debrecen in the first leg.  Their win over DVTK last week pulled them five points away from the danger zone.  The ‘Academy’ seem to be playing much better as a team and they’re unbeaten in their last four at home. 

Balmazújváros have played bravely all season and will be hard done by if they don’t stay up this season.  Four points out of their last two games has kept their noses above the relegation line by goal difference.  Last season they defeated Puskás in Felcsút in their penultimate game as they raced for promotion.  By then Puskás had already wrapped up the NBII championship, but this season Attila Pintér’s side have more to play for. 

Prediction: Puskás 2-0 Balmazújváros

Ferencváros vs Haladás

at Groupama Aréna, Budapest (TV: M4 Sport)

Paul: Ferencváros were very fortunate to secure a late point against a motivated Paks squad and came very close to their first home loss of the season.  This week things will be back to normal with a 3-4 goal performance from the Green Eagles.  Dániel Böde will be back with two goals this week and all will be happy at Groupama Arena.

Haladás have flipped flopped their home/away form in their last four matches, winning both away games and drawing twice at home.  A goalless draw at home  and losing precious points against Balmazújváros does not “Böde” well.  I’m curious to see what tactics manager Michal Hipp will use in the match.

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-0 Haladás

Chris: Good one Paul.  Anytime you can use a Hungarian name in a witty statement, you win. Fradi are still undefeated at home and I can’t see them falling here.  Haladás are going to into this game with a number of question marks including goalkeeper Gábor Király.  With Márton Gyurján already injured, the gloves would be passed on to Dániel Rózsa who has only started one match this season.  Five field players including Myke Ramos and Michal Rabusic are unavailable due to injury.  

With Fradi’s home record and the pressure to keep pace at the top they should perform reasonably well to get maximum points. 

Prediction: Ferencváros 2-0 Haladás