NBI Round 15 Preview

Welcome to HungarianFootball.com's weekly preview where Chris Barrett and Paul Treso take a look at each game and give their predictions throughout the season.

After a midweek rush of Magyar Kupa matches, NBI rolls on with the penultimate match of the year this week as teams jockey for position heading into the winter break. Diósgyőr, Kisvarda and Ferencváros (you heard me the first time) were all eliminated from the cup this week.

Rotated squad and a number of missing players might make this another surprising weekend in terms of results. Let's take a look under the hood and see what's in store for Round 15.

Saturday, 7 December

Mezőkövesd vs Diósgyőr

Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd (14:30)

Chris: Mezőkövesd survived the cup against a very good Győr side, giving a first team debut to forward Artem Kontsevoy, but fielding a strong supporting cast.  Attila Kuttor’s side drew at Puskás last week in the league to remain in the top three.  Even though they’ve “cooled down” from their red-hot start in August and September, Mezőkövesd are still without defeat in their last seven league matches.  They’ve managed to stay away from injuries to key players and can arguably boast one of the best midfields in the league with Tamas Cseri, Aleks Karnitski, and Zsombor Berecz holding everything together.

Diósgyőr decided to field a second string side against MTK in the cup this week and were unable to overturn an early goal by hosts MTK.  Not only did they crash out before the final 16, they also lost key midfielder David Márkvárt to injury and he won’t feature against Mezőkövesd. Despite having a rested first team, the absence of Márkvárt will be significant blow.  The good news is that suspended defender Dejan Karan as well as forward Mirko Ivanovski return to the lineup.  Mezőkövesd played a more difficult match than they hoped this week and that could cost them.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 1-1 Diósgyőr

Paul: Mezőkövesd play their eastern Hungarian rivals in what should be an enteraing match.  The midfield of the home side will be the difference in this match. Mezőkövesd have won their last two home matches by two goals.  Can they make it three? That’s a bit too predictable for NBI.

Diósgyőr has been up and down as usual.  The men from Miskolc are so unpredictable like wildfire.  The wildfire will flicker in and cause some concern before it is put out by a single goal.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-1 Diósgyőr

Debrecen vs Honvéd

Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen (17:00)

Chris: Debrecen’s cup match against Dorog was postponed until next week due to an unplayable pitch.  This could be a blessing in disguise as they host Honvéd this week.  Loki have been banged up with injuries this year and the match-postponement has given them a few more days to heal.  Ádám Bódi came on as a second half substitute last week, making his debut after working hard to overcome an injury.  Debrecen also get defender Ákos Kinyik back from suspension this week.  Goalkeeper Tomas Rosicky has been brilliant in place of injured starter Sandor Nagy and is likely to start again.  Their problem remains in defense and don’t let last week’s clean sheet fool you.  Zalaegerszeg were kept off the scoreboard due to their own lack of finishing rather than a stellar Honvéd back line.     

Honvéd finally came back down to earth with a thud at Kisvárda last week to end a five-match winning streak.  Kisvárda stifled Honvéd’s attack and finally broke through what had been a very stingy Honvéd back line.  Giuseppe Sannino’s side earned a comfortable 3-1 win over Monor this week with a strong starting attack.  One notable addition to the midweek cup squad was defender MacDonald Niba’s return to the lineup.  Niba has been out since Round 5 and will be a welcome addition to an already good back three.  Despite controlling the ball for a good part of the game last week, Honvéd are still lacking tactical guile to break down NBI defenses with precision.  As Lanza goes, so goes Honvéd, and Lanza was a passenger last week. 

Prediction: Debrecen 1-2 Honvéd

Paul:  Debrecen aka Loki are alive. They shocked me to life with their away win against Zalaegerszeg. Perhaps that will turn out to be the match that served as a wake up call for this young squad.

I fell into the romance of seeing Honvéd try to win five consecutive road matches. Four in a row was quite a feat for the men from Kispest. Right away they have a opportunity to begin a new streak. Here they catch a team at the wrong time and another streak begins...

Prediction:  Debrecen 2-1 Honvéd

Újpest vs Kisvárda

Illovszki Rudolf Stadion, Budapest (17:00)

Chris: Újpest were given a reprieve as their mid-week cup match was postponed due to a frozen pitch. Coming off a splendid win over Paks last week, Lilák are hoping to keep the attack flowing this week.  Robert Feczesin was astounding again but will have to become more consistent if he’s to keep Újpest moving up the table.  Defense continues to be a problem as they’ve now conceded at least two goals in five of their last six competitive matches.

Kisvárda crashed out of the cup after fielding a somewhat weaker starting lineup at Pecs. With starting goalkeeper heading back to Brazil to undergo surgery for torn cartilage in  his knee, Kisvárda will be without their heart and soul in the back this week.  21 year-old backup goalkeeper Illés Zöldesi will be making his season debut for the club.  Claudiu Bumba returned to action in the cup match but might make way for Stavros Tsoukalas who rested midweek.   

Prediction: Újpest 3-1 Kisvárda

Paul:  Újpest are showing continued good form in winning three out of their four matches.  Now home matches are a bit more different. The tough part is that the Lilak are two different sides home and away.  With that said I will make the easy choice….draw.

This match is one of clashing styles. Kisvárda, with so many foreign players, can adapt during the match depending on the formation of their opponent. They are a fun squad to watch as will this match.

Prediction:   Újpest 2-2 Kisvárda

MOL Fehérvár vs Paks

MOL Aréna Sóstó, Székesfehérvár (17:00)

Chris: Fehérvár looked a different team as won just their second league game since early October last week and scored more than two goals.  New manager Joan Carillo seems to have given them permission to enjoy the game again and now return home to face a struggling Paks side.  Fehérvár got past Szeged 1-0 in the cup this week with a somewhat second string side. Juhász and Musliu anchored the defense, and Pátkai supported Ivan Petriak through the middle but the rest of the side was rested.  They’ve lost three of their last four home games, but will be looking to make Carillo’s first game in charge back in Székesfehérvár one to remember. 

Paks made no mistake in the cup with a strong lineup which ensured a comfortable 4-0 win over Mosonmagyaróvár. Perhaps it was what was needed after falling at home last week to Újpest, equalling their highest amount of goals conceded at home this season with four.  They allowed four against Ferencváros back in late August as well.  Paks haven’t won in their last six league matches and will have their work cut out for them here.  Players who weren’t in the squad last week such as midfielder Kristóf Papp and right back Attila Osváth, started in the cup so it looks as if most players (besides the injured Laszlo Bartha) are available. 

Prediction: Fehérvár 3-1 Paks  

Paul: Vidi, my old way of calling this squad, were back to their winning ways in their resounding win over Diósgyőr. Once again, I think we see the "Carillo effect" in a match where the home side dominates with many goals and beautiful football.

Paks still have an interim manager as far as I know. Does anyone want the job? They have not won in their last five matches. Things will not get any better in this match. Could it get much worse? Yes it does unless the cold weather stops this from being a route.

Prediction:  Fehérvár 4-0 Paks

Zalaegerszeg vs Kaposvár  

ZTE Aréna, Zalaegerszeg (17:00)

Chris: Zalaegerszeg continue to be a frustrating club to watch.  With all of their good ball movement of positive play, they are still lacking the final touch to finish off all of the chances they’re creating.  Last week’s 2-0 defeat to Debrecen could have been a draw or a win if they would have finished half of what they created.  Barna Dobos’ squad did make it to the final 16 in the Magyar Kupa after a 2-1 win over Szarvasi this week.  Eduvie Ikoba was back on the score sheet for the first time since September which will hopefully be a boost to his confidence.

Kaposvár battled bravely against Ferencváros last week but eventually fell and are still on just 6 points after 14 games.  This week won’t be any easier despite having midfielder Attila Szakály back after suspension as Csaba Vachtler will be forced to watch this game from stands.  The defender picked up his fifth caution last week.  To heap on the misery, leading scorer Martin Ádám is out as well as winger Norbert Csiki - both of whom are sick and unlikely to play on Saturday.

Prediction: ZTE 2-0 Kaposvár

Paul: Zalaegerszeg is a snake bitten team but it’s time for them to throw that snake to the side and earn three points.  We can say “should have”, “could have”, “would have” but if you "should have" won, then you "would have" won the match. Zala will take the 3 points here but not easily.

Kaposvár have lost five straight matches which can be seen on paper. In reality we see a squad that enter each match and give it 100%. Last week we saw them give Fradi a tough match and a run for their money. They will give another effort in this battle of promoted squads.

Prediction:  ZTE 3-2 Kaposvár

Sunday, 8 December

Ferencváros vs Puskás Akadémia

Groupama Aréna (15:45)

Chris: Fixture congestion might just be catching up to Ferencváros as they fell 2-0 to Békéscsaba this week to end this season’s Magyar Kupa campaign.  Leandro’s first minute dismissal had them down to ten men and the NBII side took advantage.  In Fradi’s last two league contests they’ve just edged bottom sides Kaposvár and ZTE despite dominating the games, and then gave up a late goal to Espanyol in the Europa League in a game they should have wrapped up earlier.  Sergei Rebrov has made it clear that the league is where Fradi’s priorities lie, but with the lure of playing continental football in the spring still within their grasp they’ll likely continue to manage their players fitness and minutes to maximize their chances over the next couple of weeks.  

Puskás rested a number of key players but still managed a fairly comfortable 3-0 win over Dabas-Gyón in the cup.  Ezekiel Henty, Kamen Hadzhiev, and Josip Knezevic all sat this one out and Puskás still controlled the game.  Captain Roland Szolnoki will miss this game after picking up a red card in last week’s league draw against Mezőkövesd but Zsolt Hornyak’s team has confounded the league with some good results.  They’ve defeated both Fehérvár and Ferencváros earlier this season, but I think the champions will eke another close one here.

Prediction: Ferencváros 2-1 Puskás

Paul: Ferencváros are on a roll and have won four of their last give matches. Their wins have not been convincing but in the end its all about earning the 3 points. This will be a match where Fradi have to work a little harder to win as their opponents are no pushovers

Last week, I recalled the upset of Puskás defeating Ferencvaros with an odd midfield crazy goal.  Crazy things in football stick in my head. I don’t see anything like that goal happening in this match.  Of course this is football where as in life anything goes. Who knows but I can’t see Puskas winning here a draw maybe (not).

Prediction:  Ferencváros 2-0 Puskás

NBI Round 14 Preview

Welcome to HungarianFootball.com's weekly preview where Chris Barrett and Paul Treso take a look at each game and give their predictions throughout the season.

Last week we saw Honvéd come back to win their fifth straight while MOL Fehérvár tumbled into third place after a home defeat to Puskás which led to the sacking of manager Marko Nikolic. Will Joan Carillo have a successful debut in his second stint in Székesfehérvár? Have Diósgyőr turned things around? Are Paks and Kaposvár already doomed before the winter break? Can Debrecen win without defenders? Are Zalaegerszeg on the verge of a strong run? Hopefully the answers to these questions become clearer as we look ahead to Round 14.

Paul:  Chris, wait please. I’m on vacation but NBI football is not.  Our love of Hungarian football is great and I knew that my piece could not be late.  What a round 13 for players, teams and managers. I hope the players of Diósgyőr bought lotto tickets, or at the very least were given a feast by the board.  I can’t remember the last time they won in Budapest? Another very good manager for “Vidi” was fired and a old-new manager rehired.  A major announcement, I have been making my predictions based on statistics.  From this point on my choices will be from the Heart. It’s never too late to use your heart and maybe be smart?

Saturday, 30 November

Zalaegerszeg vs Debrecen

ZTE Aréna, Zalaegerszeg (15:45)

Chris: Zalaegerszeg conceded three goals in the first half against Ferencváros last week, but turned things around and came a whisker away from leveling in the second half. Their lack of points isn’t because of lack of effort.  None of their defeats have been by more than a goal.  They’ve played the top three teams in the league in the last three rounds, scoring six goals while conceding seven.  They lost at Debrecen earlier this season but should feel somewhat confident playing at home this week.  Regular center back Zoran Lesjak was missing from the lineup last week, as was left back Krisztián Tamas who has played in only two of their past six games due to injury.

Debrecen saw Kevin Varga return after his three-match ban but was unimpressive as they fell to a second consecutive defeat last week.  Goalkeeper Tomas Kosicky was the best Loki player on the pitch as he deputized for the injured Sandor Nagy.  Manager Andras Herczeg announced Nagy won’t be fit for the clash against ZTE.  Center back Ákos Kinyik will be out due to yellow card accumulation, but it looks as if winger Ádám Bódi could make his season debut after sitting out the first 12 games due to injury.  It’s more likely he’ll come on as a late substitute but the fact he's being considered is good news for the club.  Debrecen’s defense has been their weakness and Kinyik’s absence thins out an already fragile back line.

Prediction: ZTE 2-1 Debrecen

Paul:  The stars will align in Zalaegerszeg on Saturday.    Bring on Jiminy Cricket and a wish! ZTE will win as is their due.  (Note: I have been wishing upon a star for the last 20 years)

DVSC please do not fire András Herczeg as he knows his young players!  Debrecen need to get to winter break and things will be fine. For now it’s “Frozen II” and in the Spring they will ring and click.

Prediction: ZTE 3-2 Debrecen

Puskás Akadémia vs Mezőkövesd

Pancho Aréna, Felcsút (17:00)

Chris: Puskás took advantage of a Fehérvár team in turmoil last week, scoring three goals in Székesfehérvár and exacting some revenge against them for an early season defeat at Pancho Aréna.  Adám Gyurcsó added two more goals last week to give him seven goals in his last seven matches, ending PAFC's run of two defeats.  Zsolt Hornyák’s squad have proven they can compete among the top teams this season.  Puskás’ defense rode their luck a bit last week as Fehérvár lacked confidence despite creating some good scoring opportunities, but Mezőkövesd will be in a better frame of mind than moody Fehérvár and the Horny Boys will have to be alert.    

It was business as usual for Mezőkövesd last week as they easily dismantled Kaposvár and nullified their attack with a smothering defense. Now in second place after Fehérvár’s hiccup last week, Attila Kuttor’s side are cruising on a six-match unbeaten run playing some very efficient football.  Daniel Vadnai started at right back in place of the suspended Daniel Farkas and played one of his best games of the season.  Farkas is likely to return at right back and with Erik Silye shining on the left side it probably mean Vadnai starts on the bench again.  Mezőkövesd are one of two teams that are undefeated away from home (the other is Fehérvár).

Prediction: Puskás 1-1 Mezokovesd

Paul:  This may be the most up and down match of the week.  Both sides are entertaining to watch unless weather interferes.  Draws are so difficult to predict but I will. I love this Mezőkövesd side.   An away win could happen but a late goal makes this dramatic.

Prediction:  Puskás 2-2 Mezőkövesd

Paks vs Újpest

Fehérvári úti Stadion, Paks (17:00)

Chris: Paks descent into the relegation zone continued last week as they fell apart in the final 15 minutes against Honvéd, sending them to their fourth defeat in their last five league matches.  Interim manager Gábor Osztermájer will have midfielders Kristof Papp and Norbert Könyves back from suspension this week which should bolster the squad ahead of this week’s game which pits them against another side that can score goals in a hurry.  Paks defense has not been up to standards in recent weeks and, with no one carrying the attack, their feeble back line hasn’t kept them in close games like in years past.

Újpest manager Nebojsa Vignjevic’s frustration was palpable last week as he saw his side dominate yet lose to two first half goals that could have been avoided.  Lilák’s domination was at its zenith in the second half and they still couldn’t find the back of the net.  It was a game they could have won 3-1 or 3-2 but instead were held without a goal.  Újpest have the capacity to beat any team in the league depending on which team shows up mentally.  Captain Robert Litauszki returned to the side last week but it was obvious he wasn’t back to full match fitness. He'll only improve in the weeks to come but will that be enough for this week?  Robert Feczesin, Donát Zsótér, and Obinna’s misses last week need to be converted. If they can keep creating the chances it’s likely they’ll be successful in Paks.   

Prediction: Paks 1-2 Újpest

Paul:  Everything says Paks will lose this match. And they should. Do they even have a permanent manager?  Despite the odds, this is my "upset of the week!"

Your guess here is as good or most likely better than mine.  Újpest have to be better than what they are showing on the pitch.  Their manager deserves so much more . . . hang in there Nebojsa!

Prediction:   Paks 2-1 Újpest

Kisvárda vs Honvéd

Várkerti Stadion, Kisvárda (17:00)

Chris: Kisvárda returned to winning ways at home against Debrecen last week. Of course it was Anton Kravchenko who led the way with a first half goal increasing his stature as one of the better all-around defenders in the league.  Kisvárda suffered two blows last week, however, as rising box-to-box midfielder Claudiu Bumba and defender Rados Protic both hobbled off injured and are questionable for Saturday’s match.  Kisvárda took advantage of Honvéd's early-season goalkeeper crisis, putting three past backup András Horvath in a win in Budapest back in August.  This will be a tougher test despite being at home as they face a positive Kispest.

There is no hotter team in Hungary right now than Honvéd.  Giuseppe Sannino’s continues to win whether he’s on the bench or not.  The fiery Italian supremo spent another match in the stands last week due to a compiling of touchline infractions.  Despite all of that, Honvéd turned around a late 1-0 deficit and came from behind to defeat Paks.  Davide Lanzafame score his second penalty of the season to tie the league lead in scoring (7 goals), and Naser Aliji scored his first of the season for the winner.  Defender Bence Batik was removed early in the second half due to injury and was replaced by David Kálnoki-Kis who played his heart out for 41 minutes.  Even so, this isn’t a team that looks dangerous week-in and week-out. They’re riding their luck a bit and I think it runs out this week.

Prediction: Kisvárda 2-1 Honvéd  

Paul: I will check in here at times just for the Kisvarda supporters as their drumming and spirit is small town football at its best.  Kisvárda continue to be a side of a great many nationalities. Who else has Greek and Portuguese players with a very good Romanian of good skill mixed in?

Honvéd enjoy football outside of Budapest with their recent success.  Something has to give or will it? Lanzafame may have a goal but a card to go with it?

Prediction:  Kisvárda 1-2 Honvéd

Diósgyőr vs MOL Fehérvár  

Diósgyőri Stadion, Miskolc (17:00)

Chris: Diósgyőr have now won three of their last four and all is looking up for the team from Miskolc.  Haris Tabakovic is back and he opened his account last week in a win against Újpest.  Debrecen’s leader scorer two seasons ago, Tabakovic could be a key ingredient to Diósgyőr’s turnaround this season.  After a poor start they are now in 9th place, four points clear of trouble.  Forward Mirko Ivanovski is available after serving his one-match ban, but Serheii Shestakov and Tabakovic’s performance last week might make it difficult for him to return.  Manager Tamás Feczkó will return to the dugout after sitting in the stands last week.

A disappointing defeat at home to Puskás spelled curtains for manager Marko Nikolic.  The Serbian had led Vidi to a championship in 2018 and into the the Europa League group stages last season, but their early exit in Europe this summer and recent slide in league form was enough for the club.  He was replaced this week by former Vidi manager Joan Carillo, who won the championship with the club in 2015.  This is a talented side that has reportedly been underperforming because a poor clubhouse atmosphere.  The arrival of Carillo is sure to bring some hope and fresh air to a side that was stagnating in both attacking creativity and defensive resilience.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 2-3 Fehérvár

Paul: Diósgyőr are back home after their great Budapest win.  With the 12th man in force they will have another Spanish manager at Miskolc but sorry girls it will not be Fernando.

Another new manager for Fehervar, though this time it was done not after but during the season.  An new-old manager should bring some salsa picante to the side, and he will. All indicators point to an away win so I'm going for my “upset of the week #2" here.

Prediction:  Diósgyőr 1-0 Fehérvár

Sunday, 1 December

Kaposvár vs Ferencváros

Rákóczi Stadion, Kaposvár (18:00)

Chris: Kaposvár were shut down by Mezőkövesd last week and they really seem a step or two behind the level needed to really compete for survival in NBI. With captain Attila Szakály suspended for this game and their recent run of form it would take a miracle for them to get something against the champions.  

Ferencváros are in first place with a game in hand but are also coming off a tough result against Espanyol in the Europa League.  After missing a penalty and then going ahead late at Groupama on Thursday, they conceded a late, late goal to drop two vital points in their group.  Playing lowly Kaposvár will be a welcome respite for a team that’s playing two competitive matches per week.  Fradi have conceded in six of their last seven matches which means they’re not without their weaknesses, but they shouldn’t have much trouble in Kaposvár.  It’s likely David Gróf will get the start in goal and there could be some other rotation with a Magyar Kupa match next week.

Prediction: Kaposvár 1-3 Ferencváros

Paul: Stranger things have happened!  Remember PAFC upsetting Fradi with that goal from half field?  Kaposvár are proving that the first division may be a bit too much for them.  I cannot fault them for their effort. The “little engine” has come close many times to the three points but will have to travel a bit more to find that goal.

Ferencváros played a very exciting match against Espanyol.  They could have and should have won. But if they should've won they would have won.  That match is done, so now onto more fun. Will they have any gas left?

Prediction:  Kaposvár 1-2 Ferencváros

NBI Round 13 Preview

Welcome to HungarianFootball.com's weekly preview where Chris Barrett and Paul Treso take a look at each game and give their predictions throughout the season.

Paul:  Chris, we are back after a short vacation.  I feel great! I spend a good amount of time on this column per week, anywhere from 5 to 120 minutes.  I do countless, endless hours of research pouring over statistics, reading about Hungarian football in Hungarian, watching Gol TV etc.  The NUMBER 13 has a special place in my heart. I work in Room 13 after breaking the curse of the room 13. My daughter is 13 and she was born on April the 13th.  I am excited about Round 13 and am not at all superstitious. Wouldn’t it have been fun to have matches on Friday the 13th? I miss Hungarian football on Friday.

Chris: Well Paul that's quite the opening statement. It's also been 13 days since we last watched NBI. That being said, let's get to the previews.

Saturday, 23 November

Honvéd vs Paks

Új Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest (17:00)

Chris: Four wins on the trot have lifted Honvéd up from the depths in NBI.  What’s even more impressive has been their defense.  In their first five games they conceded an average of close to 3 goals per game.  Since mid-September they’ve only conceded three goals in seven games, and just one in their last five (including an impressive goalless draw against Ferencváros).  They’ll be without their manager Giuseppe Sannino for a second time this season as he was sent off by referee Csaba Pintér in their 1-0 win over Diósgyőr last round.  Patrick Ikenne-King remains injured, but Honvéd’s three-back defense with Lovric, Batik, and Kamber look almost impenetrable in tandem with Tujvel in goal.

Paks interim manager Gábor Osztermájer must be dreading the trip to the capital this week as in-form Honvéd look to exact some revenge on their early-season 3-1 defeat at Fehérvári úti. Paks will be missing two key players: Kristof Papp, who was sent off in their last match against Kisvárda, and Norbert Könyves who is suspended after collecting five yellow cards. The loss of both midfielders will take bite out of the heart of their midfield against a solid Kispest attack.  Dániel Böde’s return hasn’t sparked the Paks’ attack, and János Hahn (despite some good effort) hasn’t scored in 7 games.  Mohamed Remili hasn’t been available in a couple of weeks due to injury but is reported to be available against Honvéd.

Prediction: Honvéd 3-1 Paks

Paul:  Four straight wins equal for the homeless “home side”.  Who would have imagined the transformation of this team? The Honvéd train moves on, but it seems too easy and that makes me a bit queasy about this match.

Paks are the side that everyone in NBI would like to play.  They are in major disarray and can’t find a manager who can get them to play.   It won’t happen today as no managers to speak of ,even the jobless, are anywhere to be found.

Prediction: Honvéd 3-1 Paks

MOL Fehérvár vs Puskás Akadémia

MOL Aréna Sóstó, Székesfehérvár (17:00)

Chris: Fehérvár need a strong win after a trio of unimpressive results.  A defeat against Fradi, followed by a draw at ZTE and then an efficient (if not comprehensive) win against lowly Kaposvár who were without their first choice keeper and playing with only ten men from 20 minutes.  Marko Nikolics should have everyone but Szabolcs Huszti available to him and they’ll be looking to return to their early season dominance against Puskás who they already beat in Felcsút back in August.   

Puskás return from the international break on the back of two consecutive home defeats.  Zsolt Hornyák’s squad has actually been more successful away from home during the first third of the season and will take a four-match away unbeaten run into Székesfehérvár. Adám Gyurcsó has scored five goals in his last six games, and Ezekiel Henty looks to back in Hornyák’s good graces with two in his last three. Their problem has been in defense.  After an impressive run where they only allowed five goals in six games, they’ve shipped five in their two.  If they can return to keeping it tight in their own end they might be able to nick a point against their old tenants.

Prediction: Fehérvár 2-2 Puskás

Paul:  A battle between distant cousins that once shared the same home.  Something is not quite right in Fehérvár. Perhaps the return of team captain, Roland Juhász, can ignite Fehérvár to regain their opening season form?  The week off does the side well and they win uncomfortably at home which is a great improvement to losing two of their last three home clashes.

Puskás are in the fourth position on the table.  I repeat this is not a lie. It is so hard to write that first line, but it’s true.   This about where I would have predicted them in the pre-season. Recently, they have been a very streaky side, losing their last two after winning their last two before that.  This match could go any way but gaining a point is the most one can expect of Puskás.

Prediction:  Fehérvár 3-1 Puskás

Mezőkövesd vs Kaposvár

Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd (17:00)

Chris: Mezőkövesd drew their second game in a row at Zalaegerszeg and extended their unbeaten run to five games.  Attila Kuttor’s team has lost just twice this season - interestingly enough, both times they were defeated they conceded more than one goal.  This has been a terrific run for Mezőkövesd which has been highlighted by the rise of goalkeeper Peter Szappanos whose average InStat rating (256) is third best in the league. They will be without the services of right back Daniel Farkas who was sent off last match and are still unsure of the fitness of their other right back Gábor Eperjesi.

Kaposvár didn’t rest fully over the international break as they played Szolnok to a 1-1 draw.  The encouraging news is that goalkeeper Krisztián Pogacsics played 45 minutes and looks to be back to fitness - the bad news is that he will be suspended this week after being sent off after 22 minutes.  This, of course, means Balázs Slatka will take over custodial duties.  Kaposvár have lost their last five games and ten of twelve this season.  They’ve been held goalless in six of their defeats including three of their last five.  Ironically both of their wins are clean sheets.  Mezőkövesd have the second best home defense, conceding just five goals in six games.  That doesn’t bode well for a Kaposvár attack that has scored just four goals away from home all season.   

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-0 Kaposvár

Paul:  Mezőkövesd has to be the biggest suprise so far in the NBI.  They find themselves in the third spot which is something to be proud of so far after 12 rounds.  They play very attractive football. I like the service of their midfield. Business as usual for the M.I.B.

Kaposvár are proving that the first division may be a bit too much for them.  I cannot fault them for their effort. The “little engine” has come close many times to the three points but will have to travel a bit more to find that goal.

Prediction:   Mezőkövesd 2-0 Kaposvár

Kisvárda vs Debrecen

Várkerti Stadion, Kisvárda (17:00)

Chris: Kisvárda painfully conceded a late goal against ten-man Paks last round to enter the international break with disappointment. They have won just one of their past games after starting the season winning three of their first four.  This is a team that’s in need of a kick start.  Forward Patrik Tischler came on as a substitute in their 2-0 defeat against Romanian side CFR Cluj in a friendly last week which means he might be available for selection on Saturday.  The player to watch is centre back Anton Kravchenko.  The Ukrainian defender has been Kisvárda’s best player all season but didn’t play at all against Cluj.  Neither he nor Claudiu Bumba traveled with the team to Romania last week.

Debrecen will be glad to have Kevin Varga back in the squad after finishing his three-match ban.  They won one and lost two without Varga, but last round’s 6-1 defeat at the hands of Ferencváros at home was the low point of their season so far.  They actually matched Fradi very well in the first half and were unlucky to be down 2-0 at half, but after Márk Szécsi was replaced a halftime, and goalkeeper Sandor Nagy left the game (both via injury) it was as if the fight left them for good.  Backup goalkeeper Tomas Kosicky actually made some key saves, but the defense fell apart and the rest is history. There are a lot of “ifs” for Loki on Saturday and I think this will be a difficult game for them.

Prediction: Kisvárda 2-2 Debrecen  

Paul:  Kisvárda drew last week against Paks but in reality they should be penalized two points for not getting the job done, and not beating a side when they are down.  This is somewhat of a Eastern Hungarian derby and could have a good atmosphere. Must this match be predicted?

The time off hopefully  came at the right time for Debrecen after their Fradi fiasco.  The club has to be hoping to somehow limp into the winter break, get healthy and make some useful signings.   Three losses in a row, but a solid point here is something I can endorse..

Prediction:  Kisvárda 2-2 Debrecen

Újpest vs Diósgyőr  

Illovszky Rudolf Stadion, Budapest (19:30)

Chris: Újpest have flipped the script from last season and are now scoring goals like they’re going out of style.  Six goals in their last two matches have seen them outscore both Kaposvár and Puskás in a bid to return to the podium chase.  Róbert Feczesin’s two goals against PAFC has him atop the scoring charts for Lilák.  Nebojsa Vignević has to be happy with his side’s recent results but his back line and goalkeeping situation is still a concern.  Újpest played NBII side Vasas over the break and won 4-3 with Márk Koszta scoring twice.  The three goals conceded weren’t ideal, however.

Diósgyőr’s two-game winning streak came to an end against the resurgent Honvéd in Round 12.  Tamás Feczkó’s side will be without forward Mirko Ivanovski who was sent off in the last game.  Feczkó himself will be absent on the bench as he was sent off in the closing moments as well. Diósgyőr will also be without key defender Dejan Karan who has collected five yellow cards.  Rui Pedro hobbled off after 66 minutes against Honvéd and it’s likely his availability will be a game-time decision.  Miskolc’s attack goes through winger Sergiy Shestakov who should be able to create some chances against Liláks suddenly loose back line, but the absence of Karan should be a cause of concern against a confident Újpest attack.

Prediction: Újpest 3-1 Diósgyőr

Paul: Újpest have won their last two matches but on the road if truth be told.  They have no home but their fans are well travelled. They should a little battle before scoring two goals total.

A second straight Budapest match for Diósgyőr from the Eastern Hungarian city of Miskolc.  Diósgyőr do not play well in Budapest.  It is a bit of a ride truth be told. I wonder when they last won in Budapest, maybe Chris will know?  For now a win is a no go.

Prediction:  Újpest 2-0 Diósgyőr

Sunday, 24 November

Ferencváros vs Zalaegerszeg

Nagyerdei Aréna, Debrecen (18:00)

Chris: Ferencváros entered the international break on the highest of notes as they dismantled Debrecen 6-1 at Nagyerdei Stadion.  With their international players surviving the break without injury they’ll be looking to take that momentum into the final few games before the winter break.  Tokmac Chol Nguen, Isael, and Roland Varga were rampant in the game against Debrecen, and backup keeper Dávid Gróf made some quality saves in his first stand-out performance since joining the club this summer.  With an important Europa League match coming up on Thursday their might be some rotation but, as we’ve seen all season, this Fradi squad has depth for days.  

Zalaegerszeg recorded their third draw in a row last round.  If it wasn’t for Peter Szappanos’ heroic penalty saves they could have defeated Mezőkövesd but it wasn’t to be.  Barna Dobos’ side has only lost once in their past six and have risen out of the relegation zone for the time being.  They were minutes away from defeating Ferencváros at home earlier this season but lost their concentration late one.  This has been a common occurrence for ZTE and, despite their organization and strong will, they will likely struggle at Groupama on Sunday.

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-1 ZTE

Paul: Ferencváros broke out of their offenisve drought and put six in the back of the next at Debrecen.   A match after a high scoring one is always a concern. Did they leave those goals in Debrecen or is it a pattern?  

Zalaegerszeg have to be the unluckiest side in the NBI.  They have drawn in their last three matches and are playing decent football.  All this drama and they are in the relegation zone. I will not not call for a fourth.

Prediction:  Ferencváros 3-0 ZTE

Wales vs Hungary Preview

"If the Welsh are the Dragons then we must be the lions!"
-Marco Rossi - Hungary manager

The die has been cast and it’s all or nothing for Hungary in their final Group E qualification match on Tuesday evening in Cardiff.  Everything is coming together on a night that is starting with high stakes and should provide quite a bit of drama as the curtain falls on automatic qualification.  

What: Euro 2020 Qualification - Group E: Wales vs Hungary

When: Tuesday, 19 November - kickoff 18:45 (CET)

Where: Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, UK (33,000 capacity)

Weather forecast: Cloudy, 8ºC

Referee: Ovidiu Hategan (ROU), AR -Octavian Sovre (ROU), AR - Sebastian Gheorghe (ROU) 4O - Sebastian Coltescu (ROU)

What’s at stake? With Croatia securing top spot on Saturday, the final automatic qualification spot in Group E is still up for grabs among three countries.

Who is still in the hunt? Hungary have the inside track over Wales and Slovakia, but only just.  With Croatia’s win over Slovakia on Saturday, Hungary will qualify automatically with a win over Wales.  A victory for the Welsh will propel them into next summer's Finals instead, forcing Hungary to battle for a spot in the March playoffs.  

With Hungary holding a point advantage over Wales they would finish over Ryan Giggs’ side with a draw, but Slovakia then becomes a threat.  Slovakia host Azerbaijan in Trnava in their final game on Tuesday and a home win is likely on the cards.  If Wales and Hungary draw and Slovakia win then Slovakia will go through based on their head-to-head record against Hungary in qualification.

Hungary update:

Marco Rossi will be without a few players going into this crucial match. Willi Orbán has been deemed unfit and will not play. The 27 year-old RB Leipzig midfielder, who has primarily been used as a center back by Rossi, picked up an injury in a German Cup match back on 30 October and hasn't been cleared for a return to action.

Predicted lineup for Hungary

"The key is to have the team believe that you can win this match. In my opinion, this is the key to success and direct qualification. The Welshmen have very dangerous attackers, but I discovered vulnerable points in their defense against Azerbaijan."
- Máté Pátkai

DAC's Zsolt Kalmár was injured in Hungary's 2-1 friendly defeat against Uruguay on Friday night. The attacking midfielder played 83 minutes before suffering a broken ankle and replaced by Dávid Holmán. Tamas Kadar is also unavailable for Rossi.

And despite Mihály Korhut's wonder goal against Azerbaijan back in October, the Aris FC defender also picked his second yellow card in the second half of that match which means he'll be serving a one-game ban against Wales. He got his first caution in the final minute of their win against Wales in Budapest.

One bright spot will be the return of Ádám Nagy in midfield. The Bristol City player came on as a second half substitute and has been cleared to start against Wales.

With Pátkai sure to be alongside him in a defensive midfield role, the duo will need to play strong and challenge the strength of Kieffer Moore, the speed of Daniel James, and the technical brilliance of Bale.

Wales update:

Coming off a 2-0 win over Azerbaijan on Saturday, Ryan Giggs' squad have made the 2,600 mile (4,200km) flight back from Baku and rested on Sunday. Wales have a quality side with Gareth Bale leading the way alongside Aaron Ramsey (both of whom have fitness concerns).

Wales vs Hungary
Predicted lineup for Wales

Bale played for an hour in Baku and was replaced by Ramsey giving both a manageable workload in hopes of both starting on Tuesday. Midfielder Joe Allen is also set to return after serving a one-match suspension, sitting out against Azerbaijan.

But defender Joe Rodon and midfielder Jonathan Williams (both of whom started against Croatia in October) are out after each underwent surgery earlier this month. Even so, this is a team that has something to prove as they look to avenge a narrow defeat in Budapest this summer.

Ryan Giggs has made it clear that he doesn't want to mess with what's working. Since losing to Hungary this summer they've won three and drawn two - including against Croatia at home. With Bale and Ramsey lacking fitness it's possible he won't start them together. Joe Morrell's impressive performance against Azerbaijan will make it tough for Joe Allen to get back into the side but this could be a match where added experience and grit could make the difference.


It's difficult to say which team has the most pressure going into Tuesday night's match. Wales are looking to return to the Euros for a second straight time without having to go through a playoff round. They share a disappointing 2018 World Cup qualification with Hungary and are itching to return to the big stage. Playing at home will be a huge boost for Wales but it's unlikely Bale and Ramsey will last the full 90 minutes.

That being said, Hungary manager Marco Rossi is spot on as he's mentioned the first 15-20 minutes will be key. If Bale and Co. can break through Hungary's weakened defense early this could be a slog for Hungary. The addition of Nagy will be a huge boost and the opportunity for this side to gain automatic qualification will also be extra motivation. Rossi rested Lovrencsics, Gulácsi, and Pátkai against Uruguay. He was also able to pull most of his attacking starters after 60 minutes or so which means his starting XI will be fresh.

Lovrencsics will be a key player as he can be dangerous with Dzsudzsák on the right. If Rossi can launch his wide attacks from his full backs it will allow his wingers to flood the box and cause chaos, but it also leaves them exposed for counter attacks. But with Pátkai and Nagy possible playing deeper and winning back possession it might be worth the risk.

There is no reason to sit on a draw here so we should see a winner. It will be balanced on a knife's edge. Hungary's away record speaks for itself with just one win in twelve since 2016 but, if Hungary can hold off an opening onslaught, I think they'll be able to ease by in the end.

Wales 1-2 Hungary

NBI Round 12 Preview

Welcome to HungarianFootball.com's weekly preview where Chris Barrett and Paul Treso take a look at each game and give their predictions throughout the season.

Paul:  Round 11 was my favorite round in recent memory.  So many exciting games with goals scored, and many, many surprises.  Matches that went back and forth with several decided in the second half.   What will happen this week, I can’t even begin to guess….

Chris: As we start the second lap in the league, the table is taking shape with Mezőkövesd crashing the party at the top of the table with the usual suspects Ferencváros and Fehérvár. Last week we saw some highlight reel goals from Újpest's Donát Zsótér and Honvéd's Dániel Gazdag. We also witnessed the third manager of the season receive his marching orders. Which teams will make a statement before the players head into the last international break of the year?

Saturday, 9 November

Zalaegerszeg vs Mezőkövesd

ZTE Aréna, Zalaegerszeg (17:00)

Chris: ZTE continue to churn out results against the top teams in the league.  Zoran Lesjak’s last-gasp leveler against Fehérvár was a testimony to this team’s resiliency despite this being their first season in the top flight in eight years.  They have the sixth best goal-difference (+1) in the league despite being below the relegation line.  Manager Barna Dobos believes that their inability to hold a lead comes down to concentration, and they’ll need all they can get against an impressive Mezőkövesd side.  Left back Krisztián Tamás came off in the second half against Fehérvár with a leg injury and is questionable for this game.

Mezőkövesd are level on points at the top of the table after the first trip through the table.  The addition of central midfielder Aliaksandr Karnitski has brought some steel to the spine of Attila Kuttor’s squad and it’s shown as they have only conceded more than one goal in two league matches so far. They won the first meeting 1-0 back in August and will be hard pressed to match that in Zalaegerszeg.

Prediction: ZTE 1-1 Mezőkövesd

Paul:  Zalaegerszeg continue to play exciting football.  Goals, goals and more goals. Isn't Gergely Bobál playing inspired football lately? He is only 24 years old as is his twin brother Dávid. After little consideration and a gut feeling, I will do it and predict the home side to finally come though and earn three valuable points.

Mezőkövesd played a very competitive match against Fradi.  It was an entertaining match. The Men in Black (MIB) are an excellent side but this has the making of what we can in American Football a "trap game." Coming off a big match, they will make the long trip to Western Hungary and the boys of Zalaegerszeg will pull an upset. Upset Pick #1.

Prediction: ZTE 3-2 Mezőkövesd

Kaposvár vs MOL Fehérvár

Rákóczi Stadion, Kaposvár (17:00)

Chris: Kaposvár lost their fourth in a row last week in a free-flowing match against Újpest.  Goalkeeper Krisztián Pogacsics’ backup Balazs Slatka was tapped for three goals and looked fairly below average throughout as László Disztl’s side attempted to change their approach but were outclassed in the end.  Martin Ádám did score his team-leading fourth goal of the season, but it was his first since August.   

According to their official site Fehérvár will get team captain Roland Juhász back from injury this week as well as midfielder Anel Hadzic who has been out with a viral infection. Juhász’s return will be a welcome addition to a side who has conceded five goals in their last two league games.  Marko Nikolic’s side managed a fairly comfortable 4-2 scoreline in their first meeting this season at Sóstó Aréna, but with their injured returning to the ranks and Pogacsics possibly out for Kaposvár, it could get ugly here.

Prediction: Kaposvár 0-3 Fehérvár

Paul:  Kaposvár have lost four matches in a row but they are the underdogs, the minnows, that I root for in all sports.   Wouldn’t a win here be glorious and stop that four match losing streak? Stranger things have happened in Hungarian football!

Fehervar have not won in three matches.  Can they beat the newcomers? I am not so sure on this one, but I don’t have the guts to call for a home win.   A home win would not surprise me but I can’t predict it. Stranger things have happened.

Prediction:  Kaposvár 2-3 Fehérvár

Puskás Akadémia vs Újpest

Pancho Aréna, Felcsút (17:00)

Chris: Puskás lost their first competitive match since mid-August last week at home to Honvéd despite outplaying them.  They’ll be motivated to get back to winning ways and will feel confident against a Újpest side they unhinged in Budapest to start the season. Ezekiel Henty was on fire in that game, ripping apart the Lilák backline for two goals.  The temperamental striker is back in the lineup and in fine form.  Captain Roland Szolnoki is back in the squad after serving his one-match ban last week.

Last season Újpest boasted the best defense in the league for most of the season.  So far this season they’ve shipped 17 goals in 11 games which is fifth most conceded thus far.  They’ve allowed two goals against lower league Ajka in the cup and against bottom side Kaposvár last week.  On the bright side they’re back in the goals with eight in their last two after a stretch where they only scored once in three games.  Nebojsa Vignjevic hasn’t been  satisfied with the full product on the pitch but they’re inching closer with the right mentality and should be good enough for a point.   

Prediction: Puskás 2-2 Újpest

Paul:  Puskás lost a match!  The streak is broken. Despite all the numbers that say the home side should win, throw out the statistics when either of these two sides play. Who do I want to win? The squad in this paragraph. I love the manager, I love the stadium, and I love many of the players. When I love something, I lose. Sorry "Horny Boys." Note the aforementioned nickname is a word play on manager, Zsolt Hornyák.

In Hungarian football we are accustomed to bad news and bad news. Now we have the occasional good to go with the bad. The good news:  Újpest scored three goals and it was enough to defeat the newcomers. The bad news it was against Kaposvár who could have won the match.  Do I see three goals again? No way. But I do see an “upset of the week #2”.

Prediction:   Puskás 1-2 Újpest

Paks vs Kisvárda

Fehérvári úti Stadion, Paks (17:00)

Chris: Paks and manager Tomislav Sivics parted ways after last week’s defeat at Debrecen, leaving Paks equal on points with 11th place ZTE and perilously close to a relegation place.  Youth coach Gábor Osztermájer will take control of Saturday’s match against Kisvárda. Dániel Böde scored the lone goal in Paks defeat against Loki.  It was the first game back for the team captain after serving his three-game ban.

Kisvárda are another team who are going through a rough patch of form.  Despite controlling the game against Diósgyőr last week, they weren’t able to create and finish the dangerous chances that their opponents fashioned.  That was the difference.  Claudiu Bumba opened his account in what was arguably his best performance of the season.  Gheorghe Grozav’s current goal drought has affected the club’s fortunes but this is a chance for him to kickstart his production against a Paks side that’s out of sorts.

Prediction: Paks 1-2 Kisvárda  

Paul:  Another manager to say goodbye too as it was only a matter of time.  This Paks side is in chaos.  I have no idea who will manage or if it makes a difference.  I’ve stated on paper they look decent but I recant my statement.  Another loss in Paks. Please Aurél Csertői even if Paks ask you to return, just say no. They don't deserve you as a manager in my humble opinion.

Two losses in a row for Kisvárda so this match comes at a great time for them.  No, yes? But, they just were trampled last week by Diósgyőr? If they cannot defeat Paks this week, they don’t belong in the NBI, or do they?

Prediction:  Paks 1-2 Kisvárda

Honvéd vs Diósgyőr 

Uj Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest (19:30)

Chris: Honvéd are looking much better in recent weeks as they’ve risen to fifth place with four wins and a draw in their last five.  Last week’s win over fancied Puskás with Giuseppe Sannino sitting in the stands showed that this team is on autopilot and the veteran presence of Davide Lanzafame (love him or hate him) continues to drive the success of this squad.  Dániel Gazdag’s lovely finish capped a fine team move for the winner last week.  Their attacking verve has only been eclipsed by their stellar defense - just two goals conceded in their last six competitive matches.

Diósgyőr have won two league games in a row under Tamás Feczkó and, all of a sudden, Miskolc are three points clear of the relegation line and look like they’re headed in the right direction.   This will be a tough match for Diósgyőr as they’ll have to attempt to break down Kispest’s five-man back line while keeping an eye on Lanzafame, Gazdag and Vadocz in attack.

Prediction: Honvéd 2-0 Diósgyőr

Paul: Honvéd have now won three matches in a row and four straight away matches as well.  The goals should come in nice numbers here but they may end up winning 1-0. Who knows?  This should be a Honvéd win either way.   Mr. Lanzafame scores a hat trick and a yellow card. For him business as usual.

Diósgyőr do not play well in Budapest.  Look it up. They often leave the capital after a sounding defeat.  It think it plays out here even with a new manager. Some things don't change. Please prove me wrong as my uncle lives in Miskolc so I have a special place for this club in my heart.

Prediction:  Honvéd 4-1 Diósgyőr

Sunday, 10 November

Debrecen vs Ferencváros

Nagyerdei Aréna, Debrecen (17:15)

Chris: Debrecen are now looking much better after a solid win over Paks without starting forwards Haruna Garba and Kevin Varga.  Loki will be without Varga for one more game as the winger sits out the final match of his three-game ban.  Let’s not forget the last time these two teams played when then-Debrecen substitute Dániel Zsori scored the goal that won him the FIFA Puskás Award for European Goal of the Season.  

Ferencváros continue to churn out results and have done well to stay among the leaders in NBI while also remaining competitive in the Europa League - giving themselves a chance to qualify for the knockout rounds with two matches to go.  The last time Fradi lost was at home to Ludogorets in early October.  Since then they’ve played their cards close to their chest and have opted to grind their way through the fixture list, saving their best performance for a key 2-1 win over Fehérvár two weeks ago.  They’ll be without Endre Botka who is banned after picking up five yellow cards, but are hoping that Lasha Dvali will be ready to go.

Prediction: Debrecen 1-1 Ferencváros

Paul: Wait this match is on Sunday? This match looked to be a fitting way to end round 12 but now who knows?  The leaky Debrecen defense will allow at least two goals while they will fail to score none. Where is Mr. Zsor to score goals? Kevin Varga? Ibrahima Sidibe at the age of 39 is still scoring goals for NBIII side DEAC with manager, Elemér Kondás.

Ferencváros are not scoring goals.  Hard fought match against CSKA Moscow.   I was able to watch some of it and the highlights on Russian TV, though my mother who overheard said it didn’t sound like Russian to her?  Who knows? That’s why football is the sport of the world. Can Fradi score? If they can't score against Debrecen I will be speechless. I would not mind this as I have a sore throat. Humans please rethink a flu shot. It is done to fight the flu but more often than not the humans get the flu. Side note....Fradi score more than a goal and take valuable points.

Prediction:  Debrecen 0-2 Ferencváros

NBI Round 11 Preview

Welcome to HungarianFootball.com's weekly preview where Chris Barrett and Paul Treso take a look at each game and give their predictions throughout the season.

Paul:  Chris, I can’t believe we are in November.  It should be a great football month with NBI  weekly matches, a huge National Team match against Wales, Hungarian Cup matches,the reopening Puskás Arena  and Ferencváros of course in the Europa League.  Back to NBI, we had a total of 13 goals scored in round 10, including a surprising scoreless draw between Újpest and Zalaegerszeg.  With Hungarians observing All Saints’ Day on November 1st , I thought it would be an appropriate time to honor the great Hungarian footballers of the past.  We all know about Ferenc Puskás & the Golden Team (Hungarian: Aranycsapat; also known as the Mighty Magyars), László Kubala, Flórián Albert etc..  In fact the list could go on and on. Let us also remember some players who passed away too young such as Miklós Fehér and Márton Fülöp.  Now on to round 11 and the league we love, the Hungarian first division.

Chris: This season's league is shaping up quite different from recent seasons. The top four have developed a seven-point buffer over the "also rans" so far, and there's little separating the teams in the larger group. Does the sentence "Mezőkövesd are tied for first place after eleven weeks" surprise you? It shouldn't.

Saturday, 2 November

Puskás Akadémia vs Honvéd

Pancho Aréna, Felcsút (14:30)

Chris: No one had a better cup round this week than Puskás as they put 15 goals past Maglód.  Ádám Gyurcsó led the way with five goals, and Nándor Tamás and Tamás Kiss each scored a hat trick.  This was on the heels of a tough away win at Kisvárda where Ezekiel Henty returned to the side to score his first goal since the first game of the season.  Confidence is high and Puskás return home where they’ve won their last three by two goals or more.

Honvéd had a tougher opponent in the cup and it showed as it took extra time to defeat Kazincbarcika. Bence Batik and Davide Lanzafame finally solved the NBII side in a 2-0 win.  Giuseppe Sannino’s side are in good league form and they’ve won their last three away games.  They also know that a defeat here will further separate them from the lead pack.  Batik and Lanza have been Kispest’s best players over the last four weeks with Batik leading the back line (three consecutive clean sheets) while Lanzafame continues to test the limits of the opposition’s defense (two goals in last two games).

Prediction: Puskás 2-1 Honvéd

Paul:  This match is one for the statisticians like Chris.  I will throw a few out there that are quite interesting.  Puskás have won their last two matches and their last  three home matches. Round 10 featured the mercurial Ezekial Henty scoring the winner against Kisvárda along with his usual yellow card.   Puskás (I refuse to use Chris’ team nickname) have an exciting club and this could well be a high scoring match depending on rainy  weather.

Honvéd are also in fine form and have won their last two matches as well.  On the flip side, they have won their last three away matches!. Something has to give here or does it?  Davide Lanzafame is in fine form and Amadou Moutari while still missing some chances repaid his manager’s faith and finally scored a goal against Kaposvár.  This match is too hard to pick so I will compromise and call for a draw.

Prediction: Puskás 1-1 Honvéd

Ferencváros vs Mezőkövesd

Groupama Aréna, Budapest (17:00)

Chris: Ferencváros continue to win despite not really dominating games.  Their 3-1 win in the Magyar Kupa against BKV Előre was enough to get by once again.  Tokmac, who left injured in last week’s win at MOL Fehérvár, was nowhere to be seen in their midweek match and he might be saved for their big Europa League match against CSKA on Thursday.  But this is huge match for both sides who are looking to solidify their place at the top.   

Mezőkövesd managed to squeak past NBIII side Sényő-Carnifex FC 2-1 in the cup with mostly a second-choice side.  Former Fradi player Erik Silye, who has featured in Attila Kuttor’s lineup in the last month or so, has some incentive the get one over on his old team.  Mezőkövesd have lost only twice this season so far, and both defeats have been at home.

Prediction: Ferencváros 2-2 Mezőkövesd

Paul:   For the third week in a row, we have a match featuring two top sides but this week it’s Ferencváros who are in a three way tie Mezőkövesd and Fehérvár albeit with a match in hand.   Groupama Arena should be standing room only with a great football atmosphere.   Fradi have not lost in four home matches this season and this should make it a fifth straight victory.  However, it will be a hard fought match.

Mezőkövesd trounced Debrecen at home and are p;roving to have many players capable of placing the ball in the back of the net.  They have not lost in any of their four away matches this season! We know anything is possible in the NBI but a win in Budapest would fit the modus operandi of Hungarian football.

Prediction:  Ferencváros 2-1 Mezőkövesd

Diósgyőr vs Kisvárda

Diósgyőri Stadion, Miskolc (17:00)

Chris: Diósgyőr’s Mirko Ivanovski finally opened his account last week, but also broke his nose in their win over Paks.  With the aid of a mask he should be ready to return.  DVTK had a fairly strong lineup in their midweek cup match which saw them win 3-0 over FC Dabas.  Ivanovski wasn’t in the lineup for that game but should be available to play against Kisvarda with a mask.

Kisvárda’s four defeats this season are against the top four sides and they’ve played all but one close.  Despite that, they’ve able to beat the rest of the teams in the peloton with Gheorghe Grozav (6 goals) leading the way.  Look for Claudiu Bumba to break out soon.  The Romanian midfielder has been steadily improving and I'm tipping him to open his account in this one.  

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-2 Kisvarda

Paul:  This is somewhat an Eastern Hungarian derby featuring two of the three sides in that region.  Diósgyőr came up with their first away win of the season in defeating Paks by a goal.   Tamás Feczkó is building something in this squad and they return home to Miskolc on a high note.   I will buy into the hype and call for a rare “upset of the week” based on nothing but a gut instinct.

Kisvárda fought hard but lost a home match and were unable to score against a stout Puskás defense despite a wonderful atmosphere created by their supporters.  Stavros Tsoukalas is back and it is hoped he can regain his form of last season. Super substitute Hugo Seco was in the starting 11 last week but failed to show his past last match excitement.   Kisvárda has a spotty away record but may have a good number of their fervent fans to travel the 100 miles to Miskolc.

Prediction:   Diósgyőr 1-0 Kisvarda

Kaposvár vs Újpest

Rákóczi Stadion, Kaposvár (17:00)

Chris: Kaposvár tasted victory for the first time in a while this week. They got an injury time winner against Duna Aszfalt in the cup despite having to play the second half with only ten men. The win was their first in weeks as they prop up the NBI table with only six points so far.  Goalkeeper Krisztián Pogacsics was injured in the first half of last week’s 2-0 defeat against Honvéd and he didn’t factor in the cup so it’s quite possible that backup Balázs Slatka will be between the sticks again.

Two tough results in the past two weeks have put Újpest in an unflattering position as the season reaches the one-third mark.  Lilák are in 8th place, just two points clear of a relegation spot.  They managed to dominate the second half of the midweek cup match against Ajka but they needed to bring in the big guns to get the job done in what turned out to be a 5-2 win.  Manager Nebojsa Vignjevic was encouraged by the second half performance and he should feel good about his side ending a run of two games without scoring.

Prediction: Kaposvár 1-2 Újpest  

Paul:  Kaposvár have lost their last three matches and are falling further behind in their battle to stay in NBI   Goals are hard to come by as the newcomers have only scored a single goal in their last five matches and only five for the whole season!  They encounter a tough defensive club who are having major troubles scoring goals themselves. The question is can any goals be scored in Kaposvár in this match?  I see one goal perhaps being scored in all fairness.

Újpest are in a goal scoring drought and have not scored in their last two matches despite having a myriad of goal scoring opportunities.   Lilak have won every other away match this season and this will their match to win while scoring a single goal. The goal drought will be broken but not by too much.  As they say a win is a win.

Prediction:  Kaposvár 0-1 Újpest

Zalaegerszeg vs MOL Fehérvár 

ZTE Aréna, Zalaegerszeg (17:00)

Chris: ZTE put seven past old NBII foe Budaorsi FC in the Magyar Kupa to advance to the final 32 this week.  Forwards Eduvie Ikoba and Gergely Bobál each scored a brace as Dr. Barna Dobos’ side pulled away in the second half.  The return of right back Bendeguz Bolla from suspension will boost their back line ahead of what could turn out to be a very important match.  Zalaegerszeg have played well and despite winning just two games thus far and can steal a result at home.

Fehérvár were beaten at home by the champions last week and have fallen into a three-way tie at the top of the league.  They dominated Ferencváros but were unable to convert their numerous chances.  Márkó Futács production has dried up in the last two months and his level of play has fallen off considerably.  They’ve only managed to score three goals in their last four league matches and will find Zalaegerszeg to be more difficult than they realize.

Prediction: ZTE 1-1 Fehérvár

Paul: Zalaegerszeg earned a hard fought draw against Újpest.   Young goalkeeper, Patrik Demjén was superb and continued his good start to the season.  Zalaegerszeg have only won a single home match but should give Fehervar a good match.  As in all their marches, ZTE will fight to the end but lose by a single goal.

After a great start to the season, Fehervar  have leveled off in their play. The loss of two veteren players, Roland Juhász and Szabolcs Huszti, has really affected the play of the squad.  Maybe a return by Juhász will rejuvenate the squad?

Prediction:  ZTE 1-2 Fehérvár

Debrecen vs Paks

Nagyerdei Aréna, Debrecen (17:00)

Chris: Debrecen have lost four of their last five and manager András Herczeg has looked puzzled and out of ideas.  Kevin Varga’s absence was felt last week and now Loki will add suspended Haruna Garba to the list of players who are suspended.  

Another manager that looks like a deer in the headlights in recent weeks is Paks’ Tomislav Sivic. Like Debrecen, they have just one win surrounded by four defeats in the league, but they will get forward Dániel Böde back along with defender Andras Fejes from suspension.  Paks will still find it difficult in Debrecen.

Prediction: Debrecen 1-0 Paks

Paul: Debrecen lacked any offensive firepower in losing by two goals to Mezőkövesd.  Their defense continues to look confused and conceded three goals last match night.  The loss of Kevin Varga was showed in the attack and he will miss this match as well.  Fortunately, they are back at home which should inspire the side to a victory.  András Herczeg attempts to field a solid starting 11 in both offense and especially defense.

Paks have lost their last two matches and continued their poor play in losing to Diósgyőr Dániel Böde returns after his red card ban and hopes to reignite his new club.  It has been a difficult season for Böde and Paks alike. Things don’t look to improve this week as Paks lose their third away match in a row of the season.   How soon until they have a new manager?

Prediction:  Debrecen 2-1 Paks