NBI Round 15 review: Fradi fall, Vidi roll

Ferencváros suffered their second home defeat of the season dropping into third place in NBI, five points adrift from league leaders Vasas, while Videoton demolished Gyirmót at home to regain second place and draw to within three of the summit.

Eagles shot down
Fradi’s 2-1 defeat to Paks on Saturday gives them four losses already this season. In comparison to last season, they were still undefeated at this point of the campaign and didn’t record their first defeat until round 16. They didn’t experience defeat in front of their home support until December and only lost five games all season. They started quickly out of the blocks and left the peloton behind early, winning the league by 21 points leaving no doubt of their dominance in Hungarian football.
Five points adrift at this point of the season can only be seen as disappointing considering the embarrassment of riches Thomas Doll has at his disposal. The loss to Paksi FC on Saturday could be considered a shock, but the writing has been on the wall all season as their back line have been leaking goals like crazy. A week ago the champions' defense allowed lowly DVTK back into the game, conceding goals on either side of the break. Fradi got a second half winner and managed to hold off Diósgyor, but this week their luck ran out against Paks and a late goal offered no consolation against a team they hadn’t lost at home to in 6 years. For Aurél Csertoi’s side it gives them a three-point cushion from the relegation zone.

Vidi climbing
There may not have been much doubt as to who was going to win this one, but Videoton’s 4-0 thrashing of Gyirmót FC Győr signaled that they’re back in this title race despite a disappointing start to the season. A resurgent Róbert Feczesin roared back to life in attack as he fired home his second brace of the season to take his league leading total to 8. They were his first goals since early September, and he assisted on both of Marko Scepovic’s goals as well to reclaim his role as Henning Berg’s go-to player. It was Videoton’s first clean sheet in 7 matches. I’m sure it helped that Győr had only scored one away goal in their last four.

Lanzafame on a roll
Italian roll anyone? Davide Lanzafame scored his seventh goal of the season to lead Honvéd to a 2-0 victory over a resilient Diósgyor. Remarkably, it was the seventh consecutive match the Italian has found the back of the net making him just the 7th player to manufacture that kind of production in the club’s history within the top flight (thanks for @emgergo for that bit of history). It was the first time Honvéd have won consecutive home games this season and it kept them on pace with the pack in the title race. Critics of Marco Rossi will ask why Márton Eppel wasn’t inserted into the game earlier, as the game seemed to be headed for disappointment for the home support until his arrival in the later stages.

Déjà vu for Vignjevic, Lilak
It would be ridiculous if it wasn’t true, but Újpest have not only drawn their last five matches, but they’ve taken a lead into the last 30 minutes and have conceded the equalizer in each during that stage of the game. Saturday’s game against Vasas was no different as Enis Bardhi came off the bench to put the hosts ahead on the hour. Lightning struck for a sixth time, however, as Zsolt Korcsmár slotted home for the league leaders 14 minutes from time to give them a share of the spoils. For Vasas it extended their unbeaten run to five matches, but for Nebojša Vignjevic’s squad it’s back to the drawing board as they drift 11 points off the pace.

Showdown in Debrecen ends in bore draw
Looking for consecutive wins for the first time since, well … the last time they played Mezőkövesd this season, Debreceni VSC took the game to their guests but were unable to make the breakthrough and had to settle for a goalless draw at Nagyerdei Stadion. Leonel Pontes’ men controlled the game throughout in terms of possession and chances, but couldn’t grab a winner. For newly-promoted Mezőkövesd this extends their unbeaten run to four increasing their cushion from the drop zone to seven points. It also makes four consecutive clean sheets for Attila Pintér’s boys.

Torghelle heads his way to a point
If you missed the first fifteen minutes of Haladás vs. MTK Budapest you missed the best part. Bálint Gaál scored in his second consecutive game to give the hosts the lead on 11 minutes, but MTK responded just three minutes later as Sándor Torghelle headed home his third in four matches. It was MTK’s first point away from home since a goalless draw against Újpest in late August.

With the international break coming up here’s who’s hot and who’s not:
Mezőkövesd - unbeaten in four, 10 points, and four clean sheets in a row
Vasas - just two defeats in last 11, unbeaten in last 5
Videoton - one loss in last nine, unbeaten in last 3, 10 goals in last three matches

Diósgyor VTK - 6 points in last 13 rounds (39 possible)
Gyirmót - 4 consecutive defeats

Davide Lanzafame (Budapest Honvéd) - 7 goals and 1 assist in last seven matches
Marco Scepovic (Videoton) - 4 goals and 2 assists in last four matches
Mahir Saglik (Vasas) - 4 goals in last four matches

Daniel Böde (Ferencváros) - one goal in last six matches
Dorde Kamber (Honvéd) - one goal all season

Honorable mention: Újpest’s Enis Bardhi scored 6 goals in 29 appearances last season. So far this season he’s already reached six goals after just 14 appearances.

Other interesting facts:

  • There have been no hat-tricks this season (only one was accomplished during last season).
  • 23 penalties have been awarded in the league this season - 8 have been awarded to Honvéd, 5 have been awarded against Ferencváros.
  • Only 3 penalties have been missed (each were saved by the opposing goalkeeper)
  • Honvéd’s Márton Eppel and Davide Lanzafame are level in most penalties converted (4 each)
  • Haladás have allowed the most own-goals (2)
  • Honvéd, Gyirmót, and MTK lead the league with 6 clean sheets apiece.

PREVIEW - NBI Round 15

Saturday, 5 November, 2016 - Round 15
We’re ready for another exciting round of Hungarian top-flight football this weekend as a the packs begin to separate within the table. Vasas hold a four point lead at the top despite last week’s draw against Videoton. Fradi took advantage of the their rivals' stumble to launch themselves back into second place (a position they haven’t held since 21 September). Mezőkövesd are rising, Haladás are falling, and Újpest are treading water with the sharks circling. Will MTK win away from home this season? Can DVTK climb out of the basement? Will the destruction and construction of all these Hungarian stadiums ever end?? All of these questions will be answered … in time. Thanks to Tomasz and Gayle for their endless input on all things NBI. Enjoy the preview.

Debreceni VSC (7th) vs. Mezőkövesd-Zsóry SE (6th)

at: Nagyerdei Stadion (20,340 cap. - 3,037 avg.)

Preview: Leonel Pontes took over at Debrecen on 8 August after the resignation of Elemér Kondás. His predecessor led the club to two league championships and European qualification for five consecutive seasons. Those are large shoes to fill. Pontes hasn’t set off any fireworks yet with just 3 wins in ten games, but his signing of 34 year-old forward Róbert Vittek has been inspirational as the Slovak has scored twice in 3 games since joining the club. Midfielder Dávid Holman has also been in good form with three goals in his last four matches, leading the club with 4 total on the season. Loki are unbeaten in three of their last four, losing only to league leaders Vasas 2-1 and drawing Paks 1-1 at the formidable Fehérvári úti Stadion. They put two past Gyirmót last week and are the first team to do that since Újpest scored three against them in mid-August. Pontes is working in his system and his players seem to be responding of late.

Mezőkövesd are another late blooming side this season. After just two victories in their first 11 matches, they have rattled off three consecutive wins to climb out of the relegation zone and into sixth place. Another early-season acquisition has triggered their rise in form. Malian forward Ulysse Diallo has made an immediate impact, scoring three goals in his first three appearances since joining the club in early October. In their first appearance in NBI after a two-season regroup in NBII, Attila Pintér has seemingly found the right equation with his squad. Not only have Mező chalked up three consecutive victories, each have been clean sheets as well.
Who can stop Mezőkövesd? Well, Debrecen’s home form has been poor, losing three of their last four at Nagyerdei. Mezőkövesd are unbeaten in three of their last four away games, including a brave 2-2 draw against the champions at Groupama Aréna as well as a solid 1-0 win over stingy Győr.

Prediction: Debrecen 1-2 Mezőkövesd - look for Diallo to stay hot and add to his current haul.

Budapest Honvéd (4th) vs. Diósgyőri VTK (12th)

at: Bozsik Stadion (9,500 cap. - 2,012 avg.)

Preview: One can’t speak of Honvéd these days without mentioning Davide Lanzafame. The former Juventus prospect has been enjoying a purple patch at the club scoring six goals in his first seven games since moving from Serie B side Novara in late August. Marco Rossi has come under fire for his lack of tactical nous in recent weeks, but in their last six they’ve won three and lost to Ferencváros (away) and Videoton (home) while drawing 1-1 against Újpest. A home match against bottom-side DVTK could be just what they need to build on their narrow 2-1 win over Haladás. Kispest defeated Diósgyőr 3-0 away in their last meeting - and that was before Lanzafame joined the club.

Ferenc Horváth made an impressive start to his first season at Diósgyőr with consecutive victories over Videoton and Újpest, but Fradi tapped them on the shoulder and reminded them they were punching above their weight by handing them a “wake-up” 6-2 defeat in the capital. Since then they picked up 2 points in their next 9 and have only won once in their last twelve matches. Recent performances have been encouraging, however. Latvian defender Vitalijs Jagodinskis scored an injury time leveler to earn their first away point at Újpest after he came on for the injured Marcela Mahalek early in the first half. In their last match Jagodisnkis was on the score sheet once more, but it was an own goal against Ferencváros as DVTK spotted the champions a two-goal lead before battling back. Soma Novothny scored his fourth of the season and Nono equalized for Diósgyőr before Fradi got the winner in front of a massive crowd of over 8,000 - the last match to be played at DVTK stadion before being demolished.
Despite their recent industriousness, Horváth’s men are dismal away from home, shipping a league high 18 goals in seven matches.

Prediction: Budapest Honvéd 3-1 Diósgyőri VTK - Lanzafame finds the target in his 7th consecutive game.

Ferencváros (2nd) vs. Paksi FC (11th)

at: Groupama Aréna (23,698 cap. - 6,927 avg.)

Preview: Paks have a league worst two wins this season, but they have a league high 7 draws (their total from last season). They’ve been formidable at home in terms of grinding out a result, but away from Fehérvári úti stadion they’re abysmal, losing five of their last six. In their first meeting with Ferencváros this season they played to a nil-nil draw with Paksi creating most of the chances in front of their largest home crowd of the campaign. The game was a physical affair with no less than 8 yellow cards being distributed by referee Sandór Andó-Szabó. It was only a point but it gave them confidence that they can match anyone at home. One can argue that Aurél Csertői has mastered the art of “not losing”, but will that be enough to keep them out of the drop zone? This week they’re facing the champions again but in a much less congenial atmosphere.

Fradi return home this week and, despite conceding a league high 13 goals there, they’ve also scored a league high 21 as well. The free-flowing goal atmosphere of Groupama Aréna has been exciting this season, none more so than their thrilling derby against Újpest that ended 3-3, and this week’s opposition could provide more vim to the campaign. Thomas Doll’s season hasn’t gone as planned, and with the talent he has at his disposal Fradi should be well on top of the league. The champs have won consecutive games in the last two weeks - the first time they’ve accomplished that since their perfect 3-win start to the season - but it wasn’t pretty as they had to hold off Honvéd’s late rally at home two weeks ago.  Then they needed a second-half winner from Michal Nalepa to see off table-proppers Diósgyőr in Round 14. The team that ended their perfect start to the season, Paksi, is appearing again, just when Doll’s squad need to build momentum. Former Paksi forward Dániel Böde looks to be coming back into form, scoring his 7th and league-leading goal against Honvéd after three games without finding the net, but he didn’t play last week and (understandably) didn’t feature in their 9-0 romp against Koroncó mid-week in the Cup. Marco Djuricin, who usually plays on the left when Böde is in the lineup, plays as the striker when he’s out and he’s more than capable to lead the attack with 6 goals and 5 assists so far.
Defensively Ferencváros have been disastrous, conceding 9 in their last four and without a clean sheet in eight matches. Paksi have scored in four of their last five away matches against teams with better defense than Doll’s struggling back four.

Prediction: Ferencváros 2-1 Paksi FC - Fradi keep the pressure on Vasas at the top.

Szombathelyi Haladás (5th) vs. MTK Budapest (9th)

at: Soproni Városi Stadion (5,800 cap. - 1,892 avg.)

Preview: Haladás return to their temporary home in Sopron licking their wounds from consecutive away defeats to Mezőkövesd and Honvéd. They have done very well recently at Káposztás utcai stadion, winning four of their last five including victories over Ferencváros and Vasas. They’ve slowed down a bit since winning four straight put them third top after 7 games. They had risen as high as 2nd after their win over Fradi, but their last two week’s results have seen them fall out of the top four. Hali are still without starting goalkeeper Gábor Király, but Dániel Rózsa has played well as his replacement, especially keeping a clean sheet in their 2-0 win against the champions three weeks ago. Géza Mészöly’s offense has shifted from relying upon David Williams (who hasn’t scored since round 7) to Bálint Gaál who has found the net twice in their last three games. They need more consistent scoring and Bence Iszlai seems to be chipping in lately as well with a goal and an assist in his last two appearances.

MTK come into this one as the only team without a win away this season. In fact, they’ve only scored three goals in seven matches away - another league worst. For a team that finished third and fourth respectively over the last two seasons, MTK have battled hard to overcome a disastrous start. Iconic forward Sándor Torghelle is the club’s only real threat up front so it’s not a surprise that MTK scored zero goals in their first four games as 'Sanyi' was unavailable. He’s scored just one of his four goals away from home. MTK have conceded 9 goals in their last four away matches.

Prediction: Szombathelyi Haladás 1-0 MTK Budapest - No Torghelle magic in this one.

Videoton (3rd) vs. Gyirmót Győr (10th)

at: Pancho Arena (3,500 cap. - 1,953 avg)

Preview: Henning Berg’s start with Videoton grabbed people’s attention for the wrong reasons. No wins in their first three league games and an early exit in the Europa League had supporters questioning his appointment as the club’s new supremo. However, five victories in their next six quieted most of the doubters. Now third on the table, boasting the most productive attack and fresh off a last gasp Danko Lazovic equalizer at Vasas, Videoton return home where they last experienced defeat in late July to, ironically, Vasas. Róbert Feczesin leads Vidi with six goals but hasn’t scored since mid-July. Lazovic has been the in-form striker with a goal in each of his last two games. Marko Scepovic has also netted three times since his transfer deadline day move from Olympiakos, bagging a brace two weeks ago against Honvéd.

At the other end of the offensive spectrum is Gyirmót who have scored a league worst seven goals. The only player that has scored more than one goal this season is on-loan striker Dániel Sallói with two. Gyirmót had been on a run of eight matches where there was one or no goals scored between the two sides. That streak was blown out of the water when Debrecen defeated them 2-1 last week. In fact, Gyirmót are on a three-match losing run, scoring just one goal in that span.
In their previous encounter, Videoton crushed Gyirmót 4-0 in Győr thanks to four second half goals (including Feczesin’s last goal).

Prediciton: Videoton 3-0 Gyirmót Győr - Look for Feczesin to score off the bench.

Újpest FC (8th) vs. Vasas SC (1st)

at: Szusza Ferenc Stadium (14,817 cap. - 2, 242 avg)

Preview: Újpset FC must feel like they’re the most unlucky team in the world. Currently on a run of five draws, (that’s right, five scoring draws!) Lilak have fallen steadily down the table. In each of those games Újpest have been leading but have let up the equalizer in the 61st minute or later. The last two were the hardest to swallow as they arrived at the death. Nebojša Vignjevic must sort out a defense that has shipped 16 goals in their last seven. Dávid Mohl and Ákos Kecskés have been the only two who have been consistent in Lilak’s back line, but Kecskés is out this week due to his late second yellow card against Paksi at the weekend. On a positive note, they’ve scored 14 over that span. Forward János Lázok finally opened his account this season, scoring two in his last three games, while the impressive young Macedonian midfielder Enis Bardhi leads the club in scoring with 5 goals and two assists.

Vasas - what a difference a year makes. The team that survived a relegation scare into the last week of last season, is now atop the league with a four-point cushion after 14 games. Michael Oenning has done wonders in his first full season with Budapest’s 13th district side. They matched last season’s total of 9 wins two weeks ago in a 2-1 win over Debrecen. They’ve conceded a league-lowest 6 away goals and have the most away victories (4). Leading scorer Martin Ádám has missed the last two games with a training ground injury and faces a late fitness test for this match.

Prediction: Újpest 2-2 Vasas - The run continues until Vignjevic adjusts his end-game strategy.


-Chris Barrett (@crusader120)