Your guide to ZTE vs Ferencváros

In the midst of all the attention this week surrounding Ferencváros' return to continental competition and the start of this season's Magyar Kupa this weekend, there is a league match that mustn't be forgotten. Zalaegerszeg's home opener against Ferencváros was postponed in round 2 due to Fradi's involvement in continental qualification, but they will shoehorn that match in between Europa League and Magyar Kupa matches on Sunday at ZTE Aréna in front of what is expected to be a capacity crowd.

The stats:

Zalaegerszeg (LDWL) - 10th place, 4pts

This is just ZTE's second home game of the season. The first was a 1-1 draw against Puskás Akadémia. They've been held goalless twice this season and they've kept one clean sheet (against Kaposvár).

Former Ferencváros prospect András Radó leads ZTE with two goals this season (both penalties), while Krisztián Tamás has two assists.

Only three field players have played every minute of their five matches thus far. Tamás, defender Zoran Lesjak, and midfielder Bence Bedi.

They've scored four first half goals and three in the second half while five in the first half and just one in the second half.

Ferencváros (WWLW) - 5th place, 9 pts.

This will be Fradi's third game away from home this season. The first two were polar opposites they conceded four at Pancho Arena in defeat against Puskás and then pummeled Paks with four last week on the banks of the Danube. All three of their league victories have been clean sheets.

Roland Varga and Oleksandr Zubkov share the league team lead in scoring with 2 goals apiece, with the majority of those goals coming in their win in Paks last week.

Only one player has played every minute of each league match and that is right back Endre Botka who is sure to end that run this week as he is likely out with an injury suffered against Espanyol on Thursday.

Ferencváros have scored six goals in the first half and just one in the second half this season.

The predictions:

Chris: Barna Dobos’ side has been competitive in every game this season, conceding more than one goal only once in their 3-2 defeat at Debrecen.  They’ve seemed to lock down everyone else and still manage a formidable attack.  ZTE will be missing the services of captain Szilárd Devecseri and midfielder Gergo Kocsis, who has arguably been their best and most consistent player thus far. 

Ferencváros are coming off an amazing result in the Europa League.  Their 1-1 draw in Barcelona against Espanyol was unexpected and showed they won’t be looked over in their group. Turning their attentions back to the league they will be playing at a sold out ZTE Aréna with a rotated side as they have a cup match midweek.  This should be a test of their depth.

Prediction: ZTE 1-2 Ferencváros

Paul: This should be a full house of near 9,000 spectators.   I sure hope so as the home squad could use the extra energy of the “12th man.”   Zoltán Stieber made his NBI debut last week but was not very impressive in my eyes.   Perhaps this is the match where he will get things right? I won’t be surprised with any result here but just don’t have the faith to see a home win.

MOL Fehérvár showed us last season how difficult it is to compete on two fronts in Europe and the NBI.  Ferencváros have a deeper squad and hopefully their blunder against Puskás will prove to be the exception and not the rule.   We have no idea what type of starting 11 Rebrov will list, so your guess is as good as mine. These matches were made for Roland Varga who will score two goals in a hotly contested match.

Prediction: Zalaegerszeg 1-2 Ferencváros

NBI Round 6 Preview

Welcome to's weekly preview where Chris Barrett and Paul Treso take a look at each game and give their predictions throughout the season. Read on for all the latest news for each match this week.

Paul:  Chris, welcome back after a weeks break  due to Euro 2020 qualification matches. Round 5 saw Debrecen and Mezőkövesd fall from the unbeaten ranks with boths clubs losing home matches in upsets.   A total of only 14 goals were scored with four sides going scoreless. In watching the matches I am struck by the lack of the finishing touch in the NBI. I am often reminded of unfinished homes in my city where the plans have been made, the homes have been framed but lay in wait to be finished.  It is amazing how many excellent scoring chances are not converted. Regardless, I am anxious to return to NBI football matches to brighten my Saturday.

Chris: Even though the frustration of goals continues in NBI there have actually been six more goals scored this season with two less matches in comparison to this stage of the season a year ago. I think we're all a bit ready for domestic matches to start again to rinse the poor taste of Hungary's defeat at the hands of Slovakia in Euro qualifiers. Enough said about that ... on to the previews!

Saturday, 14 September

Diósgyőr vs Zalaegerszeg

Diósgyőri Stadion, Miskolc

Chris: Fernando was sacked almost immediately after DVTK’s feeble effort against Ferencváros in round 5.  Former MTK boss Tamás Feczkó came in and made some quick changes after Fernando’s departure, sending  Patrik Ternován, Zsolt Óvári, Martin Juhar, Yannick Ndzoumou, Branko Mikhailovich and Neljän Osuman all to train with the reserves.  He also picked up Rui Pedro who impressed at Haladás last season on loan from Ferencváros.  Defensive midfielder Bence Iszlai - who was recently released by Atilla Kuttor at Mezőkövesd - and proven Croatian top flight forward Mirko Ivanovski are also good additions in a busy week in Borsod.

 ZTE had another impressive performance in round 5 against Puskás in which they had as much a right to claim the three points as their visitors did but settled for a draw.  Zoltan Stieber made his ZTE (and NBI debut) in the second half against Puskás and looked good.  Reports suggest he’ll be starting against Diósgyőr this week in what should be a hard-fought match against a team that has been overhauled in the last two weeks.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 2-1 ZTE

Paul:  Adios to Fernando.  He did an amazing job keeping Diósgyor up last season but in truth he was never given the players to really succeed.  Somehow he was not able to bring in Spanish players who had had great success at the club in the past.  Welcome back to Tamás Feczkó to first division football. I think he is a good choice and will be a new vision to the club.   Finally kudos to Diósgyor for not signing Attila Pintér.  

Zalaegerszeg should have done better than a draw in their first home match of the season.  Their finishing let them down which was the theme of the week for the NBI. Zoltán Stieber came on late and showed that he will be an important addition to the club.   Zalaegerszeg make their longest trip of the season as I believe no other two clubs are farther away from each other in the league.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 2-1 ZTE

Honvéd vs MOL Fehérvár

Uj Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest

Chris: Honvéd entered the international break on a high note with their first win of the season, a 3-2 decision over Újpest.  Unfortunately, however, it took a toll on the team as Patrick Ikenne-King re-injured his achilles tendon and is out for an extended period of time.  Davide Lanzafame is also out after minor surgery to remove cartilage on his knee will keep him sidelined for a month.  Some good news to report is that globe-trotting midfielder Krisztián Vadócz is back after a stint in Hong Kong with Kitchee.  The 42-times capped Hungarian NT player will bring leadership and experience to the side at a time when they need it.  

Davide Lanzafame begins recovery from knee surgery.

Marko Nikolic’s side seem to be moving from strength to strength these days.  The addition of Chelsea prospect Danilo Pantic on loan from the PL giants will be a welcome one to a team with high ambitions this season.  This is a high-profile signing for Fehérvár and he should be available to slip right into the side this week.  They also added Hungarian forward Levente Szabó who was on the 2015 Primavera champion Atalanta side and has featured regularly in Hungary’s youth NT setups.  There’s not much to suggest Fehérvár will end their perfect start to the season. 

Prediction: Honvéd 1-3 Fehérvar

Paul:   Honvéd was much improved last match and looked spectacular at times.   Davide Lanzafame played well but more importantly brought out the best in his teammates.   Unfortunately, Lanzafame had minor surgery over the break and will miss this match. This will have quite an impact and we will see the pre-Lanzafame Honvéd.  Krisztián Vadócz returns to the clubs once again from Asia.   I am not sure if he plays but Honvéd is doing everything but sign a striker to improve the club.

What can I say?  I still hold a grudge against Fehérvár for their Europa League play but have to admit they are playing excellent football at the moment.   Their offense is finding a multitude of ways to score and the defense is coming along. With Attila Fiola out, I’d really like to see Adrian Rus play but it appears Visar Musliu is his replacement.

Prediction:  Honvéd 0-3 Fehérvar

Kisvárda vs Mezőkövesd

Várkerti Stadion, Kisvárda

Chris: Kisvárda return home after defeat in Székesfehérvár and it was the first time they were kept off the score sheet this season.  It will be interesting to see how manager Vasile Miriută's side responds at home where they’ve yet to concede a goal in two games.  Defender Theodoros Berios and midfielder Hugo Seco are question marks ahead of this game as both are working to return from injury, but will face late fitness tests.   

Mezőkövesd fell at home to Paks last round, ending their perfect start but they’ll be looking to rebound away from home where they have a perfect record so far.  Ironically, though, the last time they lost away from home was against Kisvárda at the end of last season.   Mezőkövesd are a much-improved team this season with the additions of midfielder Aliaksandr Karnitski and defender Andrii Nesterov (who missed out last round), as well a resurgent Tamás Cseri who has been delightful to watch thus far.  Look for a tough match where both sides will take a point.

Prediction: Kisvárda 1-1 Mezőkövesd

Paul:  Kisvárda were fortunate to lose by only three goals against Fehérvár and it could have been much worse except for the play of keeper Felipe.   They are unbeaten at home in two scoreless wins. I am starting to believe manager, Vasile Miriută  who stated at the start of the season that his side are still ultimately a relegation zone club.

What happened to  Mezőkövesd last week?   They had everything set up for their fifth consecutive win of the season.   Mezőkövesd showed that making that big step into the top five isn’t easy but I still believe they are ready for that step.   Mezőkövesd will bounce back this week and take a valuable three points away from Kisvárda.

Prediction:   Kisvárda 1-2 Mezőkövesd

Puksás Akadémia vs Kaposvár

Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

Chris: Since he scored twice against Újpest to open the season, Puskás striker Ezekiel Henty has been one of the most talked-about, non-producing forwards in the game.  It’s not as if he hasn’t had the chances either.  There’s no doubt the 26 year-old has the talent but it’s always been about his mindset which currently can be described as frustrated.  Puskás are by no means a one man attack, however, as their leading scorer in the past two seasons - Josip Knezevic - is coming into form and now new-signing David Vanacek is off the mark with a goal in their draw against ZTE last round.  Manager Zsolt Hornyak has them playing some energetic football, but they need the stars to align each week to make it happen on the score sheet.  It happened against Újpest and against Fradi as they collected seven goals between them, but only once in their other three games combined.  Be on the lookout for the "Horny Boys" ;)

Kaposvár ended their run of defeats to start the season with an improbable win at Debrecen before the break.  It was quite a result for them as Loki had been undefeated entering that game and dominated but just couldn’t find a way past a stubborn defense.  They’ll find it tough to repeat that kind of performance against a Puskás sides that’s on the edge of a breakout each week.

Prediction: Puskás 2-1 Kaposvár 

Paul:  Puskás were lucky to leave Zalaegerszeg with a point.  Now they play the other new side to the NBI.   I still believe Puskás will ultimately finish as a top 5 club and once they really get things going watch out.  This could be the match that sends them on a winning streak.

Kaposvár’s wild green uniforms brought them good luck as they secured their first win of the season at Debrecen.  It was nice to see a solid performance from goalkeeper, Krisztián Pogacsics, after his rough start to the season. Martin Ádám continues to  show that he is a competent first division striker while providing  the club with valuable leadership. I can’t see a clean sheet here and the goals Debrecen missed will come in abundance in this match.

Prediction:  Puskás 3-1 Kaposvár

Újpest vs Debrecen 

Illovszky Rudolf Stadion, Budapest

Chris: Robert Feczesin made a positive start in his first game back for Újpest with goal in the first five minutes but they went on to lose their second consecutive match 3-2 to Honvéd.  Some supporters are boycotting the games after Lilák’s stuttering start and have been calling for the dismissal of Nebojsa Vignjevic - the league’s longest tenured manager.  If they ever need a win this would be the week.  The two week break has been kind to them and it’s likely to have repaired some of their injured players including captain Robert Litauszki who started in a 4-3 friendly defeat against Vasas last week.  It’s getting more and more difficult to think that Újpest can count on goalkeeper Filip Pajovic as the season progresses and the lack of a consistent backline has exposed his weaknesses.

Debrecen fought long and hard to overcome an early goal by Kaposvár last round but nothing fell their way and then ended up staring down the barrel of their first league defeat this season to the newly-promoted side.  Usually a trip to Újpest would provide a bit more concern but, with all of Lilák’s struggles both on and off the pitch, this could be a good time to steal some points away from home.

Prediction: Újpest 1-3 Debrecen

Paul: Welcome home to Róbert Feczesin who scored a goal and looked very good in his return to his former club.  The once mighty  Újpest defense have been decimated by injuries and looks very vulnerable and disorganized at the moment.   I hope things start to look up as I would hate to see Nebojša Vignjević sacked. With the home crowd behind them, the Lilak will come through in my “upset of the week.”

Debrecen did everything well in their match against Kaposvár but score.  On the positive side Loki created a great number of chances but were held to a scoreless defeat.   Manager, András Herczeg, had to be scratching his head or pulling out his hair after that match. I would have been but my current hairstyle prohibits me from the latter.  I don’t see things improving this round against a motivated home side.

Prediction:  Újpest 2-1 Debrecen

Paks vs Ferencváros

Paksi Stadion, Paks

Chris: Paks made a statement win in Mezőkövesd before the international break, winning in classic style with Janos Hahn scoring twice more to double his tally on the season.  Now with Ferencváros coming to visit, and the drama of Dániel Böde facing his old club, this should be an interesting one to watch.  Böde has yet to score since returning to Paks and Fradi have won without conceding in their last two trips to Fehérvári úti. 

Ferencváros supporters are likely to swell Paksi Stadion bringing an energetic atmosphere to the round’s finale.  With the start of the Europa League right around the corner the excitement is building around the club.  The adjustment to fixture congestion begins and it will soon be evident if Fradi can compete on multiple fronts.  According to manager Sergei Rebrov, the league will be the priority but that will only be evident in his team selection.  With Isael out for three weeks because of his horrible (even though unintentional) challenge on Diosgyor’s András Vagi, and Gergo Lovrencsic’s injury it will likely mean starting spots for Roland Varga and Endre Botka again but the rest of the team is up for debate ahead of kickoff.

Prediction: Paks 1-1 Ferencváros

Paul: Paks played well in handing Mezőkövesd their first loss of the season.  They have a deep squad with several quality players on the bench.  János Hahn is playing very well and it is amazing that at the tender age of 24, he has already played in 150 NBI matches!  I am anxious to see Dániel Böde playing against his former club.  It could be the most interesting match of the week.   This will be my “upset…, no no no… I can’t do it, but came close to calling it :)

Ferencváros had some time to rest the squad  but for a few players who had national team duty.   Unfortunately, Gergő Lovrencsics was injured but hopefully will fully match fit at the very least when the Europa League matches begin.  I am anxious to see Franck Boli play again to see if he can carry on his good play in Europe in the NBI. This will be a good battle but the real Ferencváros will come to play once again.

Prediction:  Paks 0-2 Ferencváros

NBI Round 5 Preview

Welcome to's weekly preview where Chris Barrett and Paul Treso take a look at each game and give their predictions throughout the season. Read on for all the latest news for each match this week.

Paul:  Chris, round 4 proved to be quite interesting with the most exciting match for me the one  between Debrecen and Honvéd.  A total of 21 goals were scored with all the other matches determined by two goals or more.   Four of the six matches were won by away clubs in a surprising turn of events. Chris, is it too soon to start analyzing home vs. away results?  The transfer period ends on Saturday, August 31st so players may still move before the midnight deadline. For now, I hope to see more competitive matches than last week please.

Chris: Interesting is a good word for last week. I'm getting tired of picking just 50% of the results correctly. Hopefully this week the stars will align for me and all of my hard work will pay off. :) Congratulations to Ferencváros for reaching the group stage of the Europa League this week!

Saturday, 31 August

Mezőkövesd vs Paks

Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd

Chris: Tamás Cseri is on fire with three goals in his last three games.  Last season, the Mezőkövesd playmaker scored just four over 29 league games, but without Stefan Drazic in the lineup this term he’s stepped up.  Another key addition this season has been the stellar work of defensive midfielder Aleksandr Karnitskiy, and let’s not forget the sensational goalkeeping of Péter Szappanos who has only conceded one goal in their first four.

 Paks dumped four players this week as Tomislav Sivic finalizes his squad for the season.  It looks as if former Fradi backup goalkeeper Ádám Holczer has won the #1 job over last season’s starter Gergo Nagy.  Benjámin Cseke, Róbert Kővári, and Dávid Bobál were released this week while Benjámin Cseke was sent on loan to MTK.  Despite Dániel Böde’s arrival, Paks have floundered in attack with János Hahn’s two-goal effort against struggling Kispest in round 2 the highlight performance so far.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-1 Paks

Paul:  The opening schedule could not have made better for Mezőkövesd and they have taken advantage by opening with four straight wins.   They are still to play a top club but should make it five wins in a row here. Attila Kuttor has built a very good club that could turn out to be the surprise team of the season.   Dániel Nagy has proved to be a great addition to the squad while Tamás Cseri has been playing at a level that deserves a Hungarian National team call up.  

Paks had plenty of chances in their match last week against  Fehérvár but were unable to score against a great keeper.  They will find the defense of Mezőkövesd to be a bit too much for them.  Paks will fall victim to a club that is playing great football and  who have held opponents scoreless in all but one match this season.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-0 Paks

MOL Fehévár vs Kisvárda

MOL Aréna Sóstó, Székesfehérvár

Chris: Fehérvár are the only other team with four wins besides Mezőkövesd and they look to be getting better each week.  Márkó Futács splendid five-goal haul through four games has been like cool water in a dry desert for Marko Nikolic’s side.  Enough so that Fehérvár allowed last season’s leading scorer Marko Scepovic leave for Turkey.  Futács is becoming the type of player the club hoped he’d become when they acquired him for the second half of last season, but the former Leicester City forward scored just twice in 13 games in the spring.  Goalkeeper Ádám Kovácsik looks to have his edge back as he’s been outstanding when called upon thus far. 

Kisvárda have nine points in their first four games.  Remember last season?  They didn’t reach nine points until late October (12 games in), coincidentally against MOL Vidi.  Felipe is back between the sticks and he’s looking confident as ever, leading Vasile Miriuta’s side to back-to-back victories over Honvéd and Újpest the last two rounds.  Let’s also not fail to mention the other five-goal scorer in the league, Gheorghe Grozav, who scored as many in 14 games last spring.  The prolific Romanian is worth the price of admission and is a legit danger-man who can create something from nothing.  Buckle your seatbelts for this one.

Prediction: Fehérvár 3-2 Kisvárda

Paul:   Fehérvár have quickly put their early Europa League exit behind them and are off to a great start to the season.  Marko Scsepovics is leaving the club in the final season of his contract and the club was wise to let him go and receive some compensation at the same time.  They have found their man in Márkó Futács.   The defense is still not at last season’s level but they were saved last week by the brilliant performance of their goalkeeper, Ádám Kovácsik.  They will win a wild match in what could be the match of the week.

Kisvárda are off to a great start to the season by winning three of their first four matches.  Gheorghe Grozav is playing out of his mind and we have to think he will be leaving NBI in the winter to greener pastures.   At least we have until then to enjoy is brilliant play. His goal scoring continue here as he provides all sorts of problems for the home team.

Prediction:  Fehérvár 3-1 Kisvárda

Újpest vs Honvéd

Illovszky Rudolf Stadion, Budapest

Chris: In the first Budapest derby of the season we see two teams without homes playing in a rented NBII ground.  Imagine the atmosphere.  It’s nothing against Vasas’ brand new home, but more about two perennial podium-chasers who have failed to launch so far this season.  Újpest are coming off a disappointing defeat at the hands of Kisvárda and are dealing with injuries to Litauszki, Koszta, and Obinna.  Nebojsa Vignjevic welcomed a clutch of players including the familiar face of defender Jonathan Heris.  Róbert Feczesin’s signing is a homecoming as the 33 year-old former Hungarian international came up through Újpest’s youth team in the early 2000’s and returns from Adanspor in Turkey’s second-tier where he scored 5 goal in 25 games last season.   

Honvéd manager Guiseppe Sannino’s safety rope is unraveling and his acquisition of experienced NBI goalkeeper Tujvel this week might be the final piece to turn this project around. Despite another defeat last week, Kispest actually looked like the better team for most of the game against Debrecen and if not for a couple of goalkeeping errors they might have gotten a deserved result.   I imagine Davide Lanzafame will be playing with a chip on his shoulder hearing his former boss’ post-match comments after Ferencváros secured their Europa League group stage spot this week against Sūduva..

Prediction: Újpest 1-2 Honvéd

Paul:  We have a Budapest derby this week between two clubs trying to find themselves.  Újpest are in search of offensive attack  and hope the arrival of Róbert Feczesin will solve their striker situation.   That remains to be seen…

I was happy to see somewhat of a revival in Honvéd despite their close loss to Debrecen.   Daniel Lanzafame looked great in scoring two goals and the rest of the squad is improving and following his example.   Can I call this an “upset of the week” as Honvéd earn their first victory of the new season?

Prediction:   Újpest 2-3 Honvéd

Zalaegerszeg vs Puksás Akadémia

ZTE Aréna, Zalaegerszeg

Chris: I have to admit that Zalaegerszeg have been fun to watch so far this season.  The NBII champs have proven that they’re not going down lightly (if at all) this season and they are playing their first home game of the season this week.  A defense led by Zoran Lesjak and the solid Szilárd Devecseri whose 30 yard guided missile was a joy to behold last week.  Gergo Kocsis’ performances in midfield have not gone unnoticed and manager Barna Dobos even managed to unveil the monstrous Eduvie Ikoba last week - the American striker scored within five minutes of coming on against Kaposvár.  Oh, and by the way, Zoltan Stieber has been cleared to play this week.  The former DC United and Hungarian international has never played a game in the NBI. 

Puskás have to be delighted with such a comprehensive win over a second-choice Ferencváros side last week.  They exploded for four goals after scoring none in their last two - exploiting the flanks of Rebrov’s 3-4-3 approach last week.  I’m still not convinced of their quality to dominate. Perhaps they’ll prove me wrong this week, but until they do I’m going to stick to my skepticism.

Prediction: ZTE 1-1 Puskás 

Paul:  Zalaegerszeg finally play their first home match of the season.  They look better and better each week and finally earned their first win of the season against Kaposvár.  I am curious to see if Zoltán Stieber gets a few minutes of action in front of the home fans.  Zalaegerszeg will continue their improving form with a nice home victory.

Puskás are proving to be a team of multiple personalities.  They have the ability to look brilliant at times and then they take two steps backwards the following week.   Consistency is what the squad is lacking so far in the season. After a nice win over Ferencváros last week, they come back down to earth.

Prediction:  ZTE 1-0 Puskás

Debrecen vs Kaposvár 

Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Chris: Debrecen are playing an exciting brand of football, scoring ten goals in their first three games so far.  Kevin Varga has had a phenomenal start to the season and his performance last week against Honvéd was his best so far.  Returning to Nagyerdei Stadion for their third home game of the season already they should fancy their chances against a Kaposvár side that has shipped 11 goals in their first four.

Kaposvár will be without the suspended Krisztián Nagy and likely the injured Andrii Yakymiv who left injured after 39 minutes last week. They are still without a win and have only scored one goal in their last three games. .

Prediction: Debrecen 3-1 Kaposvár

Paul: Debrecen are off to a fine start to begin the season.   After a difficult victory against Honvéd,  they are back home to the friendly confines of Nagyerdei Stadion.  This sets up very nicely for them to get their fourth straight victory while top player Ádám Bódi heals from his ankle injury.  The goals will still come in a variety of ways for the home squad this weekend. Debrecen are truly a team as they have had seven different goal scorers so far in the new season.

Kaposvár caught a bad break with some questionable decisions that turned the course of their match into a four goal route against Zalaegerszeg.  I do commend them on fighting until the end in a match that was closer than the score indicated. What they lack in talent, they do attempt to make up in desire and fight.  So far the results are not promising and a fifth straight loss looms on the horizon.

Prediction:  Debrecen 3-0 Kaposvár

Sunday, 1 September

Ferencváros vs Diósgyőr

Groupama Aréna, Budapest

Chris: Ferencváros didn’t make it easy but they did what they set out to do and will play in the Europa League group stage this year after a gritty, come-from-behind performance against Suduva this week.  It’s likely Rebrov will rotate heavily this week after such an intense match but at least they don’t have to travel and should rebound with a win this week after a disappointing outcome in Felcsút last week. 

Fernando knows what he’s up against this week, and after a 3-0 home defeat last week against Mezőkövesd he’s looking at heading into the international break on a four-game losing streak.   They really missed the suspended Brkovic in their back line last week and will gladly welcome his presence back into their lineup.

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-1 Diósgyőr

Paul: Congratulations to Ferencváros for making the group stage of the Europa League.  They have some time until the next round begins so now they must focus and earn some victories in the NBI.  Fradi should be able to field a combination A/B squad and come up with a home victory for their enthusiastic fans.   On a side note, it was great to see Stefan Spirovski back playing for the first time since November.

After an opening round victory, Diósgyőr has lost three matches in a row.   They look lost and come to Budapest at the wrong time.  In truth, tt must be noted that they have a terrible record in Budapest and often leave Hungary’s capital city after giving up a boat load of goals.  I am not sure if that happens here but I will choose a number between one and five goals for the home squad.

Prediction:  Ferencváros 3-1 Diósgyőr

NBI round 4 preview

Welcome to's weekly preview where Chris Barrett and Paul Treso take a look at each game and give their predictions throughout the season. Read on for all the latest news for each contest this week.

Paul:  Chris, we had a total of 19 goals scored in round 3 which was the first round of the NBI season to feature all twelve sides in action.  Home sides were back to dominance with only Kisvárda scoring an away win. Round 4 should be full of surprises and as we know anything can and will happen.  Let us move on to the madness of what is the Hungarian first division.

Chris: Who would have thought that Mezőkövesd would be undefeated along with Fehérvár at the top of the league with Honvéd flat on their face in the basement? I'm also quite impressed with ZTE so far as they have played some good football despite two defeats and now have brought in Zoltán Stieber to the league. Things just keep getting better and better in this league.

Saturday, 24 August

Diósgyőr vs Mezőkövesd

Diósgyőri Stadion, Miskolc

Chris: Diósgyőr scored first against Fehérvár last week but after Dusan Brkovic was sent off they were buried under an avalanche of goals, eventually losing 5-1 - their biggest defeat since a 7-0 loss against Ferencváros in March.  With center back Brkovic unavailable after his red card last week Fernando will give Yannick Ndzoumou his debut.  How can I be so sure?  Because Fernando unveiled his lineup after accusing Mezőkövesd of spying on his training sessions this week. 

Mezőkövesd have made a perfect start to the season their defense has been solid.  Tamás Cseri’s goal last week was his second in two games and the addition of Tamás Tákacs to their attack only gives them more depth.  Tákacs scored six goals for Loki last season.  Attila Kuttor’s side weren’t dominant by any stretch against Puskás last week but still managed a win after they neutralized Henty and Vanacek.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-2 Mezőkövesd

Paul:  Diósgyőr was happy to leave Székesfehérvár after surrendering five goals to the home side.  They will look to put that embarrassing loss behind them with a derby against their Eastern Hungarian rivals.  The stadium should be full as Mezőkövesd fans should travel for this match.  This will be a defensive battle with very little offense on either side.

Mezőkövesd have made a believer of me after opening the season with three wins.  They are proving to be a tough defensive side as each victory so far has been by a goal.  Attila Kuttor, who was born in Miskolc,  has molded the club in his image as he was a gritty defensive player in his day.  Miskolc is a very difficult place to play and a draw would be a good result here.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-1 Mezőkövesd

Honvéd vs Debrecen

Uj Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest

Chris: Alarm bells are going off at Honvéd after three straight defeats to start the season.  Last week’s defeat against Kisvárda came without suspended Bence Batik in defense and horrible season debut by goalkeeper András Horváth. Giuseppe Sannino has his man now in Davide Lanzafame, and some injured midfielders are returning to the side.  Änis Ben-Hatira’s late appearance last week was encouraging as he will bring a level of quality and competitiveness to the side, but Sannino’s insistence to keep Moutari Amadou on the bench has me perplexed. 

Debrecen look very capable in the scoring department but they have looked a little vulnerable at the back.  Their high-octane offense against Honvéd’s shaky backline and goalkeeper situation should provide them with some opportunities, but this will be their first game away from home and (quite possibly) their first test of the season with Lanzafame looking to inspire.

Prediction: Honvéd 2-2 Debrecen

Paul:   Honvéd have started the season with three loses.  One has to think that should this continue (and I believe it will) Giuseppe Sannino will be the first manager fired this season.  Despite adding Daniel Lanzafame for his third go around, Honvéd may be in for a long season. There still is some time to add some quality players to the squad before the transfer deadline.

The first away match for Debrecen after opening the season with two home victories.  Debrecen is proving to be a very good attacking team but must shore up the defense as they very challenged in narrowly defeating  Zalaegerszeg. Sandor Nagy continues to be a stalwart in the Debrecen goal. They catch Honvéd at the right time and they will leave Budapest with a win further adding to the woes of Honvéd.

Prediction:  Honvéd 1-2 Debrecen

Kaposvár vs Zalaegeszeg

Rákóczi Stadion, Kaposvár

Chris: Kaposvár are finding life in NBI difficult after losing their first three games.  Last week’s 1-0 defeat against Ferencváros should have been much worse as the champions ran rampant and failed to take advantage of numerous scoring opportunities against last season’s runners-up in NBII.   

ZTE have lost each of their first two games of the season, but their performances in both games have been outstanding for a newly-promoted club and they easily could have gotten in a result in either.  With 26-times capped Zoltán Stieber coming into the team they inject quality into their attack. ZTE lost to Kaposvár both times last season but they seem to have adjusted to the top flight better with the additions of Krisztián Tamás and András Radó.

Prediction: Kaposvár 1-2 ZTE

Paul:  A battle of the two new clubs in NB1.   At least one side will leave Kaposvár will a point on the positive side.  Kaposvár gave the Ferencváros “B” squad a difficult match and at home no club will have an easy time in any match in Kaposvár.   With that said, I will go with the home side for their first win of the new season

Zalaegerszeg plays their third straight away match of the season.   Very unfair for any club, let alone a new side to the NBI. They gave Debrecen a very tough match and should have come away with a draw.  They could easily win this match but the home side will be very motivated. Perhaps the most goals of the week in this match.

Prediction:   Kaposvár 4-2 Zalaegerszeg

Kisvárda vs Újpest

Várkert Stadion, Kisvárda

Chris: Kisvárda are looking like a dangerous team.  Felipe returned between the sticks last week and Gheorghe Grozav continues to look like one of the more dangerous attacking players in the league.  They return home after spanking Kispest last week in Budapest with some momentum behind them.  Defender Anton Kravchenko will miss out again due to injury, but Cornel Ene replaced him in style by scoring the first goal against Honvéd. 

Újpest are struggling a bit despite collected four points after three games.  Last week’s draw against Paks could have been a win if not for a goalkeeping error by Filip Pajovic.  With captain Robert Litauszki injured, Nebojsa Vignjevic will have another problem on his hands. Lilák are operating without a proper striker and it’s been source of frustration.

Prediction: Kisvárda 2-1 Újpest 

Paul:  Kisvárda erupted for three away goals last week against Honvéd.  Of course, Újpest does not have the swiss cheese defense of Honvéd so three goals once again would be a surprise.  Kisvárda should have no relegation concerns  this season and should join the Lilak as a mid-table club.

Újpest are looking as bruised as their passionate manager Nebojša Vignjević.   Last week, they were fortunate to earn a draw against Paks.   Their only win so far has been away at Miskolc. I do not see their second win coming away at Kisvárda.  They are currently in the sixth spot in the league and a mid-table finish looks about right..

Prediction:  Kisvárda 2-1 Újpest

Paks vs MOL Fehérvár 

Fehérvári úti stadion, Paks

Chris: Paks earned a draw against Újpest with a freak goal and they dispatched Honvéd two weeks ago.  Now back at home they will take on Fehérvár who are coming off a big win against ten-man Diósgyőr last week.  Paks haven’t seen what they expected out of Daniel Böde just yet and this will be a game they’ll need him to throw his weight around against the likes of Roland Juhász.

Fehérvár have scored a remarkable 11 goals in three games this season.  Armin Hodzic and Márcó Futács lead the league with four goals each - two of which Hodzic scored as a second half substitute last week.  It’s been quite a start to the season for Marko Nikolic’s side, but there are still some cracks in concentration that playing against ten-man Diósgyőr glossed over but were evident against Puskás in round 2.

Prediction: Paks 1-1 Fehérvár

Paul: Paks won their only home match so far against Honvéd which so far is not a big achievement.  This will be a big match for them as they can make a statement that Paks will once again a difficult place for away clubs to play.   I believe they make this statement this week in my “upset of the week.”

Fehérvár looked very good in scoring five goals at home and quickly disposed of  Diósgyőr.  They are off to a promising start to the season but this will find themselves in a battle in this match.  The Fehérvár back four appear to be stabilizing and rounding into form.  I am really liking what I am seeing from Márkó Futács so far and perhaps he will be the answer to their striker problems.

Prediction:  Paks 3-2 Fehérvár

Sunday, 25 August

Puskás Akadémia vs Ferencváros

Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

Chris: Just as I suspected, the fast start by Puskás was a flash in the pan as they have yet to score after their three-goal outburst against Újpest to start the season.  Puskás’ front line of Ezekiel Henty and David Vanacek have been smothered and frustrated in the last couple of weeks, rendering them ineffective.  They’ve actually out-worked both Fehérvár and Mezőkövesd in their previous two defeats but weren’t able to finish their chances. 

After a frustrating goalless draw in Lithuania, Ferencváros will likely rotate again ahead of their second leg Europa League match next week.  A largely second-choice Fradi side managed to get past Kaposvár but the 1-0 score line didn’t reflect the champions’ dominance. They’ve had problems finding the back of the net in their last three games.

Prediction: Puskás 1-2 Ferencváros

Paul: Puskás have lost their lost two matches and have not scored any goals in those matches.  Their goal drought will continue here against a Fradi side while not as offensive as last season still have a strong defense.  After impressing me in their first match of the season, I may have been a bit too optimistic about the side from Felcsút

Ferencváros did not look very good in their mid-week Europa League match.  They should field their “B” side to make sure their players are fresh for their HUGE match next week.  They have had problems with Puskás in the past but should do just enough to secure a one goal win.

Prediction:  Puskás 0-1 Ferencváros

NBI - Round 3 preview

Welcome to's weekly preview where Chris Barrett and Paul Treso take a look at each game and give their predictions throughout the season. Read on for all the latest news for each contest this week.

Paul:  Chris, we are back to all twelve clubs playing their matches but unfortunately all on Saturday.  I like it where the matches were spread over two days. 17 goals were scored in the five matches and three of the five matches were won by away clubs.  So the madness of Hungarian football has begun! Let us begin and try to unravel what is the mystery of NBI football.

Chris: This will short because I'm on vacation for the only time this year, but you said it Paul! Madness ensues will a full slate of games this week and it'll be nice to see Ferencváros start their season after being obliterated by GNK Dinamo on Tuesday. There are a lot of exciting matchups this week so let's get to the games!

Saturday, 17 August

Debrecen vs Zalaegerszeg

Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Chris: Debrecen came out of the blocks like a lightning bolt last week with a 4-1 win over Kisvárda.  They looked solid in their victory and will play at home for a second straight game to start the season.  Winger Ádám Bódi looks set for an extended absence after the club has sent him to get ankle surgery. 

Zalaegerszeg’s game against Ferencváros was postponed last week but they scheduled a friendly against UAE side Al-Ain and Miroslav Grumic was the goalscorer in a 1-0 win.  They played very well in an opening round defeat at Mezőkövesd and showed they aren’t going to be pushovers in this league.  Grumic is one to watch as he stood out in their game against Mezőkövesd as well.

Prediction: Debrecen 2-1 ZTE

Paul:  Debrecen looked very impressive in their dismantling Kisvárda.  They proved to be very impressive in set pieces despite the absence of skilled midfielder, Ádám Bódi.  Debrecen are home again and they will have no trouble in their match against the newcomers to the NBI.

Zalaegerszeg like Debrecen had their match against Ferencváros postponed due to the Champions League.  They hope the extra week off will do wonders as it did Debrecen last week. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening. They are still a mystery team and while it is nice to have them back in the NBI, it will be very difficult for them to avoid relegation.

Prediction: Debrecen 3-0 ZTE

Ferencváros vs Kaposvár

Groupama Aréna, Budapest

Chris: Ferencváros will finally play their opening match of the season against newly promoted Kaposvár at Groupama Aréna.  Fradi are coming off a comprehensive defeat at the hands of Dinamo Zagreb in Champions League qualifying and are gearing up for Sūduva in the Playoff Round of the Europa League.  However, manager Sergei Rebrov has assembled a squad that should be deep enough to challenge on multiple fronts.  However, they’ll be without last season’s leading scorer Davide Lanzafame who has shifted back to Honvéd, leaving room for Franck Boli and Nikolai Signevich to battle it out. 

Kaposvár were handed their second straight defeat to start the season last week as Mezőkövesd beat them in their home opener.  The killer instinct of Martin Ádám in the first week was nullified against the smothering defense of Mezőkövesd.

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-0 Kaposvár

Paul:   Ferencváros are back to playing NBI matches after exiting the Champions League.  It is now up to the manager, Sergei Rebrov, to get his players back on track and focused.  They have a deep squad that can handle playing two matches a week. A home match against the other NBI newcomers will pose little to no challenge for them.

Kaposvár were competitive in losing by a goal to Mezőkövesd.   In fact it was a goal keeper error that resulted in the first goal Mezőkövesd.  It should be interesting how they react to playing the top club in the NBI. They may be catching a frustrated Fradi side at the wrong time at the wrong place.  I see a flurry of Fradi goals.

Prediction:  Ferencváros 5-1 Kaposvár

Mezőkövesd vs Puskás Akadémia

Varosi Stadion, Mezőkövesd

Chris: Mezőkövesd have made a perfect start to their NBI campaign with wins over the two promoted teams so far.  New signing Aliaksandr Karnitski has shown a lot of promise in midfield as well as Tamás Cseri who looked very good last week and has been a consistent catalyst in their attack.   

After a comprehensive win over Újpest two weeks ago, Puskás fell to a disappointing defeat in Székesfehérvár in round two.  Puskás were arguably the better team against Fehérvár and really deserved a better result. This should be a very competitive game

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-2 Puskás

Paul:  Mezőkövesd have won their first two matches and appear to be a solid club. Tamás Cseri scored a lovely goal against Kaposvár in what was possibly the goal of the week.  They do have an impressive midfield which is a strength of the club. This will be an entertaining match and possibly the match of the week. I just can’t see them winning their first three matches in a row.

How many solid chances did Puskás waste in their home match against Fehérvár.  One the plus side they created a good many chances. Fehérvár manager, Marko Nikolić, was so impressed with Puskás that he predicted they will finish the season as a top four club in the NBI.  Puskás will right the ship this week and show that they are a squad to be reckoned with this season.

Prediction:   Mezőkövesd 1-2 Puskás

Honvéd vs Kisvárda

Uj Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest

Chris: Honvéd got the best news they could have received this week when striker David Lanzafame finalized a move from Ferencváros across town to Kispest.  This transfer solves their biggest problem which was having a real danger man up front - now they have the best striker in the league.   They’re still far from being out of the woods, however as they still have a lot of injuries in midfield and will miss out on defender Bence Batik who is suspended after his red card last week. 

After opening the season with a win at home against Paks, Kisvárda came crashing down to earth with a humbling defeat at Debrecen. Márk Kovácsréti and Gheorghe Grovav have been standout, early-season performers thus far and they should be able to penetrate a Honvéd defense that has already leaked five goals in two games.  Kisvárda’s defense will be tested by Lanzafame, however, and it’s likely he’ll want to make a statement in his first game back.

Prediction: Honvéd 2-1 Kisvárda 

Paul:  Davide Lanzafame is back on loan from Ferencváros.  I sure hope his return will revitalize the squad after their first two losses.  They really do need a shot in the arm. At the very least it will be entertaining to see Lanzafame back at Honvéd where he was the center of focus, a role which he relishes.

Kisvárda were pummeled in their match against Debrecen.   They play another away match but against a club is major disarray.  They may just be the cure for a struggling Honvéd who can use a win in a big way.

Prediction:  Honvéd 2-1 Kisvárda

MOL Fehérvár vs Diósgyőr

Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Chris: Fehérvár beat Puskás last week but the result was not indicative of the how the teams played.  Fehérvár’s defense was beaten again and again but were rescued by goalkeeper Ádám Kovácsik on numerous occasions.  It’s not been a stellar start to the season for last season’s runners-up in terms of performance but they’ve still managed to remain unbeaten nonetheless.

Diósgyőr are not the team of the last couple of seasons and should prove to be a bit more competitive throughout this season. Daniel Prosser and Matyas Taijti are playing  well and Fernando still has Haris Tabakovic waiting in the wings to bring even more attacking talent to his side. Also, midfielder Joachim Adukor has been an inspiring addition to the club.  Even so, I think it’ll be a tall order for Miskloc to steal points in Székesfehérvár

Prediction: Fehérvár 2-1 Diósgyőr

Paul: Fehérvár has quickly put their European debacle to rest and are ready to focus on the NBI.  Márkó Futács has had a promising start to the season with three goals.  Perhaps he is the answer at striker for this club?  Fehérvár appear to be ready and focused now on challenging for the championship.  On a side note, it’s a bit odd to see Szabolcs Huszti with a shaved head.

Diósgyőr is on the road after looking very lackluster in their match against Újpest.   Their are clearly lacking a consistent finishing striker. They have given Fehérvár tough matches in the past but here the goals will be flowing for the wrong side.   When will Haris Tabakovic return to Hungarian football?

Prediction:  Fehérvár 4-1 Diósgyőr

Újpest vs Paks

Rudolf Illovszky Stadion, Budapest

Chris: Újpest grabbed all three points in Miskolc last week to erase the memory of their first round defeat to Puskás a fortnight ago.  Obinna Nwobodo scored a sensational goal from outside the area for the winner, but it’s evident that Lilák are still missing a central attacking threat inside the box.  It was a completely different performance from Újpest who seemed to match the passion of their manager last week.  It’ll be interesting to see if that will carry over into this week’s game. 

Paks bounced back from a loss to Kisvárda with a good win over Honvéd in their home opener last week.  Janos Hahn trounced Kispest with two goals to kickstart his season and make a bid for top striker while Attila Osvath redeemed himself with a solid defensive performance in his second start with the club.  Dániel Böde only played the last few minutes last week but should be back in the starting lineup against Újpest.

Prediction: Újpest 1-0 Paks

Paul: I must say that I really admire Nebojša Vignjević, the manager of Újpest.  He looked like he should be in a hospital bed but he was on the sidelines with passion and fire.  He even shoved one of his players back onto the pitch as they were arguing with the referee. Újpest need to  show the personality of their manager on the pitch to be successful. There is still time to sign a quality striker or two.

Paks looked very good in their home  match against Honvéd. Balázs Balogh was solid in his Paks debut with two assists along with Mohamed Remili .  Hopefully Dániel Böde will be match fit and back in the starting eleven.  They played with three strikers at home and I am curious to see what formation they will play here.   Paks would be thrilled to leave Budapest with a draw.

Prediction:  Újpest 1-1 Paks

NB1 Round 2 preview

Football is back in Hungary and what a solid start to the season! On top of last week's season openers across the country, Ferencváros pulled off quite the result on Tuesday, earning a 1-1 draw against GNK Dinamo in their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round first leg in Zagreb.

Once again Fradi will suspend the start to their domestic season to concentrate on the second leg against Dinamo in Budapest this week with the hopes of reaching the group stage. This, however, is not good news for Zalaegerszeg who I'm sure would have loved to play their home-opener against the champions.

Paul:  Chris, I’m back from the beautiful weather of Alaska to the hot summer in California.  Not a lot of surprises for me in the first round of play. I know this will not last long at all and the craziness will return on a regular basis when we least expect it.   I didn’t see a single match and as a result, I I don’t have much to say at the moment. With that said I will pass to Chris to dazzles us with his analysis and statistics.

Chris: Congrats Paul! Four out of five with two perfect scores! What a way to start the season. I'm not worthy. I defer to your greatness and give up already.

Well, not really. Like you said, the craziness has yet to start and there are 32 more rounds to totally screw up. :) Let's move on to this week's games.

Saturday, 10 August

Kaposvár vs Mezőkövesd

Kaposvári Rákóczi Stadion, Kaposvár

Chris: Kaposvár were hammered by Fehérvár last week in their opener but still managed to get two past a formidable defense.  Martin Ádám scored as many goals last week (2) as he did in the entire 2017/18 NB1 season with Vasas.  I was impressed with new-signing Andrey Yakimov.  The Ukrainian midfielder only played 60 minutes but was seemingly everywhere. Last season’s leading scorer Gergo Beliczky sat the bench last week.  It should be quite an atmosphere in Kaposvár as they host their first top flight  match in over five years. 

New Mezőkövesd signing Budu Zivzivadze did exactly what was expected of him as he scored the winner against ZTE last week. Most might have seen that scoreline as unimpressive, but Zalaegeszeg looked quite solid in their first NB1 match in recent history.  Credit to Mezo goalkeeper Péter Szappanos for keeping them in that one.  Attila Kuttor’s side borrowed trouble as they sat back  and protected an early lead but I think they’ll make the adjustment here.

Prediction: Kaposvár 1-2 Mezőkövesd

Paul:  Kaposvár look to be an attacking club as evidenced by their goal filled match against Fehérvár.  They will have the home fans behind them hopefully in good numbers as NB1 football has not been played in Kaposvár since 2014.  Yet, I see this as a defensive match and the home club will do well do earn a draw.

Mezőkövesd opened the season with their typical hard fought 1-0 match scoreline and this week find themselves against the other promoted club to the first division.  I don’t see this as a very exciting match and this may be one I skip and head to the fitness club instead. No 1-0 match here but a tie with a goal apiece.

Prediction: Kaposvár 1-1 Mezőkövesd

Budu Zivzivadze scores in his debut for Mezőkövesd (photo: Attila Török)

Diósgyőr vs Újpest

Diósgyőri Stadion, Miskolc

Chris: DVTK will play their second straight home game to start the season and Fernando Fernandez’s side must be soaring after holding off Honvéd last week in their opener.  Diósgyőr rode their luck a bit, but they managed to finish their chances while Kispest didn’t. If Joachim Adukor can play consistently in midfield like he did last week, Diósgyőr could be more of a threat this season.

What a disappointing defeat for Újpest last week.  Not only did they lose their “home” opener at Vasas’ new stadium, but their supporters also showed their discontent with some disparaging chants. It was understandable as Újpest’s normally solid defense crumbled under the physical attacking quality of Ezekiel Henty who outmuscled and out-paced Lilák’s backline.  The injury to Dzenan Burekovic saved the left back from having an even worse game.  His replacement, Benjamin Balázs scored the lone goal and was arguably their best player in a team that looked out of ideas on attack.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-1 Újpest

Paul:   Diósgyőr opened with a nice opening home win against Honvéd and find themselves with another home match against another Budapest based club.  This match should be tougher but wouldn’t it be something if the club from Miskolc started with two wins to open the season? I think this will be a defensive match once again with few goals unlike the match to end last season.

Újpest looked very bad in their opener against Puskás and the fans voiced their displeasure with their home club.  They will be lucky to earn a point here and I wouldn't be shocked if they left Miskolc without a point.  I still like their manager, Nebojša Vignjević and see him as a good fit for the club. Unless they sign some attacking  players before the transfer deadline, Újpest could be in for a rough start to their season.

Prediction:  Diósgyőr 1-1 Újpest

Sunday, 11 August

Paks vs Honvéd

Paksi Stadion, Paks

Chris: Paks were shut down by Kisvárda in their opener last week.  New-signing Dániel Böde was a passenger and last season’s team leader in goals, János Hahn, was even worse.  Midfielder Kristóf Papp seemed to get in more dangerous positions.  Jozsef Windecker and his replacement Benjamin Cseke were solid in midfield.

Rumors are swirling that Ferencváros striker Davide Lanzafame is likely to return to Honvéd in the coming days and boy, do they need him!  Kispest were all over Diósgyőr last week but only managed a penalty despite some golden opportunities to score.  Now add Dániel Gazdag and Barna Kesztyus to the injured list and Honvéd’s midfield depth is dwindling.

Prediction: Paks 1-0 Honvéd

Paul:  Paks lost a hard fought match last Sunday but didn’t show much on the offensive side of the ball.  They are home and look to rebound against a frustrated Honvéd squad. In Dániel Böde’s homecoming, Paks will be on target and stun Honvéd in my “upset of the week.”  It can be debated if this would really be an upset?

The word is Lanzafame is coming home to Honvéd.   That would be a shot in the arm for a squad in search of some desperate attacking help.   It certainly would spice up the NB1. For all his histrionics, I do very much enjoy watching Lanzafame play.   This match will show how much he needs to return “home.”

Prediction:   Paks 3-1 Honvéd

Can Dániel Böde rebound at home this week for Paks? (photo: György Koncz)

Puskás Akadémia vs MOL Fehérvár

Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

Chris: Ezekiel Henty looked really good for Puskás last week.  His two goals highlighted a new-look Puskás side which included impressive performances from new faces Thomas Meissner and Yoëll van Nieff as well as former Hearts forward David Vanacek.

Fehérvár look to turn around a run of four games against Puskás without a win.  Their 4-2 win over Kaposvár last week wasn’t as dominant as they might have hoped, but they are now out of continental competition and can focus solely on the league. Ivan Petriak played extremely well in his debut last week with two assists, and newly-signed Macedonian defender Visar Musliu will bring even more quality to an already solid defense.

Prediction: Puskás 1-2 Fehérvár 

Paul:   Puskás looked very good in their away win against Újpest.  I was very impressed with an interview I saw with  their new manager, Zsolt Hornyak. At the same time, I must temper this with the fact the János Radoki won his opening match last season against Fehérvár. 3-0.   That won’t happen again, but I see this as the match of the week - an up-and-down affair.

I cannot express my disgust for the performance of Mol Fehérvár in losing to Vaduz.  I agree that they have taken several steps back after last season’s magical European run.  The squad is getting old in my opinion and Roland Juhász has already said that the Vaduz match will be his last in European football.  A loss would not surprise me in the least but the away team will come back in the end to secure a draw.

Prediction:  Puskás 2-2 Fehérvár

Debrecen vs Kisvárda

Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Chris: After getting trounced by Torino in Europa League qualifying, Debrecen will finally kick off their new season at home this week.  András Herczeg is starting his third full season and he’s added a number of attacking players to a team that finished third last season.  Nikola Trujic and Haruna Garba are two players that have already made an impact for Loki in continental play, but the loss of Ádam Bódi (7G, 9A last season) to an ankle injury will hit hard. 

Kisvárda edged past Paks in last week’s opener as Gheorghe Grozav picked up where he left off last season, scoring the winner in front of the their home fans.  Vasile Miurita’s team won’t be pushovers this season and could cause Debrecen some problems this week.  Anton Kravchenko continued his good form from last spring in Kisvárda’s back line and goalkeeper Mihai Minca made a good showing against Paks in just his second start in two seasons at the club.  It’s only a matter of time before Miurita hands Claudiu Bumba his debut bringing a distinctively Romanian feel to the side.  Kisvárda won both league games against Loki last season, scoring six goals and conceding only once.

Prediction: Debrecen 2-2 Kisvárda

Paul: It’s not often that a club begins with an open date the first week of the season, but this gives Debrecen an extra week to prepare for this match.  Debrecen will take full advantage of the extra week and come through with a convincing home win. I predict a top-3 finish for Loki this season.

Kisvárda took care of business with a home victory over Paks.  I am curious as to what style of play they incorporate under new manager, Vasile Miriuță.  I am not sure if Felipe will be match fit and playing again after his off the field shenanigans but it won’t matter here in a convincing away loss.

Prediction:  Debrecen 3-1 Kisvárda