NB1 Round 7 Preview

Round 7 of the NB1 is upon us already.  Time flies.  Each team should be set now that the transfer window has passed.  There are a couple of mouth-watering ties this week so let’s hear what the boys have to say about each game. 

Paul: I congratulate Mol Vidi FC of representing Hungary very well in Europe this season.  They played AEK Athens very tightly and with some luck could have advanced.  Playing on two fronts this season should be a challenge for them but they can do it.   Vidi had their match postponed last week so in five matches, 14 goals were scored.  On to round 7 and lets hope for some higher quality football than last week..

Chris: Paul, you had a good week with your picks last time - great job! Vidi has definitely captured the hearts and minds of Hungary as they’ve been drawn into a tantalizing group with Chelsea, PAOK, and BATE Borisov in Group L in the UEFA Europa League.  Exciting times!  There’s still three weeks before all of that begins and for now we look to this week’s NB1 fixtures. 


Saturday, 1 September


Debrecen vs Haladás

at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Paul: Debrecen were trounced by three goals last week against Honvéd but I see them coming back this Saturday.   A home  match against a poor Haladás club should be the right medicine to produce a result for Loki.

Home or away, Haladás are playing terribly this season.  The home magic seems to be gone as they lost last week to MTK.   Manager Michal Hipp has his work cut out for him and keeping the club up in the first division would be a major achievement.

Prediction: Debrecen 3-0 Haladás

Chris: Both teams had poor results last week, but Debrecen return home and have been a much better side so far this season.  Look for the return of Aleksandar Jovanovic in this one.

Haladás are slowly getting their players back from suspension but lost at home for the first time in their new stadium last week.  Leading scorer for Haladás after six games is Karol Mészaros (2 goals, 2 assists) - wouldn’t have been my pick.  Priskin will pick it up soon.  The last two head-to-heads have been draws, but I think Loki shade this one here.

Prediction: Debrecen 2-1 Haladás


Diósgyőr vs Paks

at Diósgyőri Stadium, Miskolc

Paul:  Diósgyor are a very difficult side to watch these days unless you are a die hard fan of the club.  They were hard pressed to draw against Kisvárda and the home advantage of their beautiful new stadium is not enough to power the team in home matches.

Paks is playing well right now but almost blew it last week after a two goal lead.  In fact, they won by a single goal after being a man down.   I see them continuing their good form against a Diósgyor club that should not provide much offensive punch.  

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-2 Paks

Chris:  It’s going to be a hot one in Miskolc. Even though we’re in September the summer heat still lingers.  Lots of changes for Diósgyőr this week as they scramble to add to their squad before the deadline.  Surprisingly Attila Busai was released from the club, and former NT striker Roland Ugrai has gone MIA.  They did sign left-sided attacker Martin Juhar this week to try and improve their weak attack.  This is only Diosgyor’s second home match of the season and they haven’t lost there yet.

Paks picked up another Vasas regular in Tamás Egerszegi.  The midfielder joins his captain Mohamed Remili who played his first minutes for Paks last week.  Recent history shows Diosgyor as the favorites and both sides are unbeaten in their last two, but Paks are the more settled side and should be able to get a result.

Prediction:  Diósgyőr 1-1 Paks


MTK Budapest vs Kisvárda

at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest

Paul: MTK is off to a very good start and you would never think they played in the NB2 last season.  Another nice match here should add three points but I predict a let down by the men in blue.

Kisvárda are slowing improving and after signing a few new players should be making it difficult for their opponents.  Things should be tough here but if a draw can be called an “upset of the week” then this is it.

Prediction: MTK 1-1 Kisvárda

Chris:  MTK are no regular promoted team looking to play it safe.  They’ve returned after a year in NBII as a better side and have shown some real quality in their first six games so far.  They lost both games against Kisvárda last season in NBII but they’ve made the right moves over the summer and look solid.  Lászlo Lensce is in fine form with 3 goals and 4 assists, and DM Adam Pinter has looked solid in the heart of their midfield.

On the other side, Kisvárda have had problems from the start this season.  Recently banned Anton Shynder has had his contract terminated and the club have brought on a couple of replacements.  Despite the visitor’s recent uptick in form, I think MTK wins easily here..

Prediction: MTK 2-0 Kisvárda


Újpest vs Honvéd

at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest 

Paul: Újpest had a week off after their match against Vidi was postponed.   This extra week off has to be beneficial to them, right?  Look for the real Újpest team to step forward and upset Honvéd and play like the club they have the potential to be this season.

This has all the making of a high scoring match.  Honvéd came back to earth, finally, with a big loss to Mol Vidi.  They have great fans but with playing their matches at the MTK grounds things will be tougher for them.

Prediction: Újpest 3-2 Honvéd

Chris: This is a tough one.  Újpest are the slight favorites at home but they’ve agreed to loan out F Patrick Tischler to Honvéd who will go straight into their opponents side to face his former team.  Tischler was Lilák’s second choice striker and hadn’t gotten off the mark in five starts this season. Újpest had the week off last weekend and despite rumors that they’ve signed Rod Duchâtelet’s butler to replace Tischler - nothing has been confirmed .  

Honvéd are coming off a 3-0 hammering of Debrecen last week - first win at their temporary home - and come into this one winning only once in their last seven head-to-head away games against Újpest.  Four of those seven have been draws. 

Prediction: Újpest 2-2 Honvéd


Mezőkövesd vs Puskás Akadémia

at Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd

Paul: Mezőkövesd gave Fradi a good battle but seem to be lacking the mental concentration to finish matches.  They had a draw in hand until the final minutes as Daniel Bode, the Mezőkövesd killer, scored in the final minutes of the match.  They should handle Puskás quite easily here.

Puskás gave a good battle against Paks coming back from a two goal deficit only to lose after being a man up.  They were quite busy in the final days of the transfer period so this is still a team in constant flux.  It’s only a matter of time until their manager is the next to leave the first division.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-0 Puskás

Chris: Puskás have seen a lot of shakeup this week in their side.  Without a win in their first six games they’re floundering.  Three starters have been released to find other clubs (reportedly) and replacements are untested and will take time to bed in.  

Mezőkövesd return home where they’ve suffered two 1-0 defeats to the top two teams in the league but should find home comforts this week.  In-form defender Robert Pillar leads a strong back line, and Patrick Mevoungou’s return last week looked encouraging despite not scoring against league-leading Ferencváros. 

Prediction:  Mezőkövesd 2-1 Puskás

  


Sunday, 2 September


Ferencváros vs MOL Vidi

at Groupama Aréna, Budapest

Paul: The marquee matchup of the week for sure.   Ferencváros catches Vidi at the right time after a mid-week match.   A win further separates the two clubs.  A lot depends on the weather here and with Fradi not having much time to work with their new coach.  It should be interesting and while I can see Chris picking a scoreless draw, I will go with a single goal draw.

Vidi had a tough match in against an Athens club that played quite dirty.  Physically and mentally they should be tired but I think they can make a match of this.  Both clubs will play conservatively and I see a justified draw 

Prediction: Ferencváros 1-1 Vidi

Chris: The centerpiece of this week’s action and much to Paul’s chagrin I will not be picking a goalless draw as Fradi are at home.  Unbeaten Ferencváros haven’t looked as dominant in the last couple of weeks since a very strong start to their season.  New boss Sergiy Rebrov took charge last week and the team looked a little nervous before getting a late winner in Mezőkövesd.

Vidi suffered a heart-breaking defeat at the last hurdle in the Champions League in Athens and many felt they were the better team (at least in terms of creating chances) but they’ve still made it to the group stage of the Europa League and will be buoyant and ready to play in the European atmosphere of Groupama Arena.  Without playing last weekend they won’t be too tired and I think they’ll be a bit more inspired.

Prediction: Ferencváros 2-3 Vidi (take THAT Paul!). :)


NB1 ROUND 6 PREVIEW

The NB1 season is well underway and Paul and Chris are back at it as they take a look at each match-up up in Round 6 on Saturday.  With Vidi playing in the Champions League Playoff Round they have agreed with Újpest to postpone this week’s match.  One thing that will be in common at each venue will be rain - be prepared for a wet weekend of football.

Paul: Chris, already we have new managers for the last place club and now the current leaders, Ferencváros.  We both know that Hungarian football is anything but predictable but that doesn’t stop us from trying.  16 goals were scored in round 4 with six of them coming on Friday’s Debrecen/MTK match.  Let’s put on our big boy shoes and try again to predict round 6.

Chris: Yeah, it seems like there’s so much going on at the moment.  Teams are still acquiring players to to fill squad needs and provide depth, and with two managerial changes already this is proving to be a season full of drama from the early stages.  On to the previews!


Saturday, 25 August


Honvéd vs Debrecen

at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest

Paul: This has all the making of a high scoring match.  Honvéd finally came back down to earth with a big loss to MOL Vidi.  They have great fans but with playing their matches at MTK's ground things will be tougher for them.

Debrecen could have scored five last week but also could have given up five with very poor defending.  For their sake, their defense must tighten up as the offense is solid.  This should be a competitive match and I see a draw in the making.

Prediction: Honvéd 2-2 Debrecen

Chris: Honvéd didn’t do well in their first match at their new “home” complaining that the ball played “much faster” than they were used to.  This is the beginning of transition pains for the club as they adjust to the new reality of being in limbo. Kispest will also be without a pair of starting defenders as Bence Batik (ban) and Eke Uzoma (injury) will be unavailable this week.

Debrecen are a team that refuse to lose as they showed last week against in a thrilling draw against MTK.  András Herczeg saw the return of Norbert Könyves last week and is likely to welcome back Aleksandar Jovanovic on Saturday.  This can only make them better and with Honvéd out of form up front and the weather possibly being a factor, I can see Loki getting a result. 

Prediction: Honvéd 1-1 Debrecen


Mezőkövesd vs Ferencváros

at Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd

Paul:  Mezőkövesd continue to be an enigma as just when I think they are ready to take the next step, they do not.  They did well to hold down Újpest.  They are not a particularly strong home team so that will not be an advantage against the league leaders.

Ferencváros has a new manager despite leading the NB1.  Ultimately Thomas Doll’s poor performance in Europe cost him his managerial position.  It should be interesting what the team does not with a new manager as they have been clicking to start the season.  

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 1-2 Ferencváros

Chris:  All the news has been about Thomas Doll’s sacking this week, but neither manager will be in the dugout as Mezőkövesd boss Attila Kuttor will serve the first of a two-match touchline ban for arguing with officials last week against Újpest.  

Of course Fradi will have a new manager in former Tottenham striker Sergei Rebrov, who has been upbeat and confident in his first week in charge.  If anyone will be encouraged it will be fellow Ukrainian Ivan Petryak who already has three goals this season.  The league leaders were disappointed not to win last week at home.  Watch the inevitable response as they shift into high gear this week. Ferencváros have won the last four head-to-head meetings with Mezőkövesd and three of their four trips to Városi stadion.

Prediction:  Mezőkövesd 0-2 Ferencváros


Paks vs Puskás Akadémia

at Fehérvári úti stadion, Paks

Paul: Paks always seem to play well against Fradi, and looked very good last week in almost defeating the league leaders.  The question now is can they continue this play against a team they should beat?  Consistency has always been a concern for this squad.  I see them defeating a weak Puskás club and starting a string of good play.

Puskás were lucky to come away with a draw against Kisvárda.  Things don’t look to be any better this week.  They should be in the match loss by a goal in a surprisingly high scoring match.

Prediction: Paks 3-2 Puskás

Chris:  Paks are back home after a successful trip to Groupama Arena last week.  They have won all four of their head-to-head meetings against Puskás dating back to 2013.  Puskás are getting worse as the season progresses.  They played bad enough to lose against Kisvárda at home last week and now they’ll be look to win where they’ve never won before.  Don’t count on it. 

Prediction: Paks 3-1 Puskás


Kisvárda vs Diósgyőr

at Várkert Sportpálya, Kisvárda 

Paul: Kisvárda played much better last week with in new manager.  They secured their first point and goal of the season and with a little luck could have won.  This is a winnable match for Kisvárda but it’s too early to call for their first victory of the season.

Diósgyor is coming off a nice home victory last week.  This match can go any way and I will not be surprised.  I will play it safe and call for a lackluster draw..

Prediction: Kisvárda 1-1 Diósgyőr

Chris: Diósgyőr have the perfect chance to win a second consecutive game - something they haven’t done in almost a year.  With Botond Antal coming off a world-class performance against Haladás last week, and Kisvárda toothless in attack it’s a good bet that the visitors could possibly pull it off.  The only question will be, “who will score for Diósgyőr?”  Roland Ugrai has gone missing, Nikolaos Ioannidis has gone cold, but new-signing Branko Mihajlovic looked solid in his debut last week.

Kisvárda are home and with their first success behind them.  They’ll feel confident and could likely grab something from this one, but I still think this team is a few weeks away from cohesion with all the new players and suspensions.  Miskolc to shade it.

Prediction: Kisvárda 1-2 Diósgyőr


Haladás vs MTK Budpest

at Szombathelyi Haladás Stadion, Szombathely

Paul: Haladás are coming off a disappointing loss away to Diósgyor.  Normally a return home would be a good thing but Haladás have not played well at home so far this season.  On paper MTK is the strong team and that should make things difficult for the home side.

MTK showed against Debrecen that they can score goals but at the same time they can give up goals in bunches.  Their back line is very susceptible to a decent offense.  They leave Szombathely with a draw and continue their good form.

Prediction: Haladás 1-1 MTK Budpest

Chris: In the late game Haladás are in danger of losing their unbeaten record at home.  The one thing they have going for them is the return of forward Tamás Priskin who is finished serving his four-match ban.  With forward Miroslav Grumic unavailable because of a red card in last week’s match, Priskin’s return is timely.

MTK are looking good in attack this season and, despite being unable to hold a lead last week, showed that they can score with the likes of Lászlo Lence and József Kanta on the prowl.  Myke Brouard Ramos is another danger in this lineup that has scored nine goals in 5 games - tied for second in league scoring.  The problem is they’ve conceded almost as many (8) and, as we saw last week, are susceptible to late collapses.  

Prediction:  Haladás 2-2 MTK Budpest


NB1 Round 5 preview

Excitement abounds in Hungary as MOL Vidi are one step away from the UEFA Champions League group stage. The scenes in Felcsút on Tuesday were amazing as they ousted Malmö in the Third Qualifying Round and will take on AEK Athens in the Playoff Round next week.  Win or lose they’ll be playing in Europe this fall and fans of Hungarian football are buzzing.  But for now, there's much to discuss as a full slate of domestic games start on Friday night! On to round five of NB1!


Friday, 17 August


Debrecen vs MTK Budapest

at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Chris:  Debrecen are missing some key players including Haris Tabakovic and Aleksandar Jovanovic.  Now Ádám Bódi and Erik Cikos are questionable leaving Andras Herczeg with more selection problems. However, it looks like midfielder János Ferenczi is in line for a return after missing the start of the season. Loki were unlucky to drop points in Felcsút last Friday against Vidi and have played very well despite their injury problems.

MTK have three wins out of four and are a hard-working side.  They’ve managed to scrape past two of the worst teams in the league.  Tamás Feczkó has selection problems of his own as two of his right backs, Bence Deutsch and Patrick Ikenne-King are injured, though Ikenne-King might be available.  Either way I think Debrecen have enough to just about win it at home.

Prediction: Debrecen 2-1 MTK

Paul:  Debrecen are playing well and getting by without their injured strikers.  Once they come back, watch out.  For now their strong midfield play will carry him.   The home field advantage should make the difference.

MTK have surprised me with their good start to the season.   Part of that has to do with a generous opening schedule.  Injuries to the back line will open up scoring opportunities that Debrecen will take advantage of for a few goals.

Prediction: Debrecen 2-o MTK

 


Saturday, 18 August


Ferencváros vs Paks

at Groupama Arena, Budapest

Chris:  Paks has had a pretty good record against Ferencváros of late, losing only once in their last six head-to-head meetings.  They drew 2-2 last time the two teams played at Groupama, but this Fradi side is playing with confidence and swagger at the moment.  David Lanzafame has added another lethal target to their front line and they continue to roll on with an embarrassment of riches at their disposal. 

Paks will be playing their fourth away game of the season and it’s already wearing on them.  They picked up former Vasas captain Mohamed Remili earlier this week and he will add some depth and experience to their side.  Janos Hahn has scored in each of his last three visits to Groupama.  Expect this one to be closer than you might think. 

Prediction:  Ferencváros 2-1 Paks

Paul:  Look for Ferencváros to get back to their scoring way against a porous Paks defense.  David Lanzafame and Roland Varga should each score here in an easy home victory.  Fradi will continue their home dominance with a strong result here.

Paks usually play up to their opponent which is a possibility here.  Something seems to be lacking in this years squad in the early part of the season.  Perhaps new signing, Mohamed Remili, will provide some spark.  He most likely needs a few weeks with the club for that to happen.

Prediction:  Ferencváros 3-1 Paks

 


Diósgyőr vs Haladás

at Diósgyőri Stadium, Miskolc

Chris:  Diósgyőr have to do something to kickstart their campaign.  Fernando needs time that he doesn’t have and his tactics have not been effective.  They signed 27 year-old forward Branko Mihajlovic from Israeli side Petah Tikvah this week but he will need some time to gel with the squad.

Haladás won their first game against lowly Puskás last week at home, but they’ve conceded six goals in two away games and need some help.  Center back Márk Jagodics and forward Tamás Priskin are both still banned for this game and the team has suffered for it.  Can’t see a winner here.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-1 Haladás

Paul:  This is one of those games that Diósgyőr will need to win to gather enough points to stay up this season.  The team isn't very good and staying up this season will be a major miracle.  The best they can expect are a draw.

Haladás also appear to have lost a spark from last season.  Their defense is lacking and the offense is lacking any scoring punch at all.  This should be one of the games to avoid this week unless you are a big fan of either club.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-1 Haladás

 

 


Honvéd vs MOL Vidi

at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest 

Chris:  Honvéd will play their first “home” match away from Bozsik Stadion as they prepare for a new stadium.  Kispest are in good form and are playing with confidence.  It will be interesting to see if new signing David N’gog will make an appearance.

MOL Vidi are on cloud nine after their midweek progression past Malmö and into the playoff round of the Champions League.  The main question for them will be who Mark Nikolic will rest ahead of their important first leg in Budapest.  Apparently Stefan Scepovic has been left out in the cold for internal reasons, but I’m thinking this would be a good time to use him.  Watch Vidi come down from their European high in this one. 

Prediction: Honvéd 1-0 Vidi

Paul:  Hey more matches at MTK's new home grounds.  This is the match of the week and the match I am definitely looking forward to this week.   Honvéd may have their striker in David N’gog, but it could be too early for him to make an impact yet.

Vidi will be playing European football in the fall which is a big achievement.  I look for them to produce a good result here as they can't continue to lose points in the championship while focusing on Europe.  I agree with Chris that Stefan Scepovic would be good to use in this match and will come up big with a goal or two.

Prediction: Honvéd 1-2 Vidi

 


Puskás Akadémia vs Kisvárda

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

Chris:  Puskás are not looking great to start their season.  Three defeats from four games has them wallowing in the depths of the table.  Each defeat has been by just a goal and they’re hoping that new signing Jan Vlasko will help in the attacking department.  The 28 year-old attacking midfielder from Spartak Trnava will bring even more quality to the side.  Quality they have - they need cohesion.

If Kisvárda weren’t already in trouble with their fourth defeat in as many games, they learned that starting forward Anton Shynder was handed a four-month ban for abuse of referee Csaba Pintér in last week’s 2-0 defeat against Ferencváros as they opened their new stadium.  Theodorus Berios will be missing in their back line as he was dismissed last week as well.  This should be an awful game but look for Kisvárda to get their first goal of the season. 

Prediction:  Puskás 2-1 Kisvárda

Paul:  Another match to avoid as it should be a boring one.  Puskás should get it right in this match but just barely.  They won't play very well but against the newly promoted  Kisvárda, they won't have to bring their "A" game.

Kisvárda are quite simply a mess.  They have yet to score a goal this season and actually have more red cards.  This would be an ideal match to at least gain a point but sadly will not happen.  I don't even see them scoring a goal here.

Prediction:  Puskás 1-0 Kisvárda

 

 


Újpest vs Mezőkövesd

at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest

Chris:  Újpest return home where they have lost and won once so far this season.  These are the types of games that Nebojsa Vignjevic’s side need to win to be considered a top-three club in the league and he has no excuses as he has a full squad to choose from.

Mezőkövesd have played some surprisingly good football under Attila Kuttor and are likely steal a point in Budapest as Lilák have a history of conceding untimely goals.  Mezőkövesd are also unbeaten in their last two trips to Szusza Ferenc Stadion.

Prediction: Újpest 1-1 Mezőkövesd

Paul:  Újpest can now focus 100% on the championship now that they are out of Europe.  The results should start coming, starting with a home match here.  Soma Novothny will find his goal scoring form that he had last season.

Mezőkövesd were quite disappointing last week and did not show me anything.  Goal scoring looks like it may be an issue.  I don't see things improving this week against the Lilak.

Prediction: Újpest 2-1 Mezőkövesd

 

 

 

 


NB1 Round 4 Preview

Don't be alarmed! We are posting a little early because of the early Vidi vs Debrecen match on Friday this week.  It’s exciting for Hungary to have a team this close to the group stage of the Champions League, but let's not forget that there is still a lot of excitement for the league games this week as well.

Paul: Chris, I must congratulate you on getting 3 of the 5 matches spot on correct and by that I mean the absolute correct results.  Only 11 goals were scored this week in the five matches with Mol Vidi’s match against Mezőkövesd postponed until a later date.  Speaking of Vidi, they had a nice start to their round with a 1-1 away draw against Malmo.  This gives them a very good chance at advancing to the next round.  Off we go to match day 4 and maybe, just maybe, now we have some statistics to work with this week.

Chris: Thanks Paul, but as you well know there’s always a bit of luck in these predictions.  Torghelle’s goal wasn’t from the training ground - if you know what I mean. Plenty of great games this week starting with a Friday night special!


Friday, 10 August


MOL Vidi vs Debrecen

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

Paul: Vidi are playing very well but are playing a lot of matches.  We see a rare Friday night match to give them an extra days rest for their return match against Malmo.  In a hard fought match, they did just enough to win by a goal on two goals by Danko “the FISH” Lazovic.

Debrecen had a comfortable home win over Diósgyor in a match that was never in doubt. Their lack of strikers hurt them here but they make this a very competitive match and push the defending champions.

Prediction: Vidi 2-1 Debrecen

Chris: After such an emotionally and physically draining match in Sweden on Tuesday along with the travel, I have to expect that Marko Nikolic will attempt to rotate his squad a bit.  I’m expecting Danko and Juhász to be rested, but midfielder Szabolcs Huszti is bound to be back in the lineup after missing the game against Malmö due to suspension.

Debrecen have started the season undefeated and despite missing three regulars from last season due to injury they’ve looked like a formidable opponent in every game.  Haris Tabakovic who led the team with 12 goals last season hasn’t played a minute yet.  Neither has winger Aleksander Jovanovic nor right back Balázs Bényei.  All are still out but that doesn’t seem to be affecting Andras Herczeg’s squad too much.  I think Loki will squeeze out a result here.

Prediction: Vidi 1-1 Debrecen


Saturday, 11 August


Kisvárda vs Ferencváros

at Várkert Sportpálya, Várda

Paul:  The good news for Kisvárda is this is their first home game of the new season.  The bad news is it comes against the league leaders, Ferencváros.  With a total of 9 goals given up in the new season, look for Kisvárda to give up at least three.  On the positive side, they will score their first goal of the season.

Ferencváros is scoring goals in bunches and we had a Davide Lanzafame sighting as he appears to have settled in with his new club.  Roland Varga is continuing where he left off last season with a league leading 4 goals.  The scoring machines moves on ...  

Prediction: Kisvárda 1-3 Ferencváros

Chris:  If this isn’t the worst fixture to walk into as a new manager I don’t know what is.  But that’s the situation here as last place Kisvárda’s new manager László Dajka takes over just before their clash with early frontrunners Ferencváros.  Despite looking better in attack against Újpest than they did in either of their first two defeats, they still look rather feeble going forward.  Their main bright spot has been the play of new goalkeeper Felipe who has already saved two penalties and has made some incredible saves from the run of play.

Fradi look rampant and with Lanza off the mark it’s going to be difficult to keep them at bay with so many attacking options.  Gergo Lovrencsics has looked particularly dangerous on the wing as well.  We shouldn’t expect a massacre, but a comprehensive win is on the cards for the visitors

Prediction:  Kisvárda 0-2 Ferencváros


MTK Budapest vs Diósgyőr

at Hideguti Nándor Stadium, Budapest

Paul: MTK earned a nice away win against Puskás and an away win is an away win.  Check out Sándor Torghelle’s “excuse me” goal which won the match for MTK.  No better example of the right place at the right time here.

Diósgyor is not very good but they will play tough and stay in matches.  Goal scoring is their weakness as Roland Ugrai is off to a tough start.  Any points earned will help in the relegation battle.  Is a draw too much to ask for here?.

Prediction: MTK 1-1 Diósgyőr

Chris:  Diósgyőr’s away from has been abysmal, losing their last 6 on their travels in the league dating back to last season.  Manager Fernando was hoping for some positive momentum after their draw against Puskás a fortnight ago, but they were outclassed against Debrecen last week.

MTK have come to terms with the loss of right back Bence Deutsch who is out until the second half of the season most likely.  They’ve done well in their return to NB1 and have shown a propensity to attack which has been nice to see.  Look for MTK to continue their good start as Miskolc continue to search for answers.

Prediction: MTK 2-1 Diósgyőr


Haladás vs Puskás Akadémia

at Szombathelyi Haladás Stadion, Szombathelyi 

Paul: Haladás has not looked too good this season but a home match is always a good thing for this club.  Their new stadium was a lucky charm last season  and I look for them to continue against Puskás

Puskás should be a good match up for a Haladás club needing a win.   They did play MTK tough, even scoring a goal with a man down.  Tamás Kiss, the young Hungarian phenom, is getting playing time which is great for his development.  In a close match, the home crowd proves the difference.

Prediction: Haladás 2-1 Puskás Akadémia

Chris: Haladás are without two key players due to suspension.  Tamás Priskin who is serving his 3rd of a four-game ban, and Márk Jagodics who is starting a three-game ban.  Those are two big omissions in Hali’s lineup and will be missed.

Puskás will be without left back Csaba Spandler (red card).  They’ve only gained one point in their first three matches, drawing against lowly Diósgyőr in round two.  This game is really too close to call and I think a draw is the most likely result.

Prediction: Haladás 1-1 Puskás Akadémia


Sunday, 5 August


Mezőkövesd vs Honvéd

at Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd

Paul: Mezőkövesd received an unexpected week off with their match against Vidi postponed. They take advantage with the extra week off to pull an “upset” with their second home win of the young season.

The schedule makers gifted Honvéd with three straight  home matches to start the season.  To their credit, Honvéd took advantage and won all three.  It’s back to reality as Honvéd’s poor play in Luxembourg spills over to Hungary..

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 1-0 Honvéd

Chris: Mezőkövesd picked up a castoff from Cypriot club Anorthosis, Andrés Alves who scored one goal in 18 games for them, but Attila Kuttor obviously feels he can do a job for them and could add more depth to a front line led by Stefan Drazic. They have started well with four points in their first two matches and have had a week off.

Honvéd are level on points at the top with 3 wins in their first three, and they’ve been playing well but this is their first game away from home this season after a bittersweet farewell to Bozsik Stadium last week.  Former Liverpool striker David N’gog has been spotted at the Honvéd training ground this week and he could be a factor if signed in time.  Either way I think it’s going to be close game and Kispest should lose their perfect record.

. Prediction:  Mezőkövesd 2-2 Honvéd

  


Paks vs Újpest

at Fehérvári úti Stadion, Paks

Paul: Paks played an ugly match against Honvéd after finding themselves a man down.  They finally have a home match after playing their first three away from the friendly confines of home.   Paks do not have a clear home advantage any more so a draw here is a success.

Újpest was not very impressive against Kisvárda with a narrow one goal win.  The question was were they that bad or Kisvárda that good?  Újpest play fun, goal scoring matches against Paks and this match plays true to form 

Prediction: Paks 2-2 Újpest

Chris: Újpest haven’t conceded a goal to Paks in their last four head-to-head meetings, and the return of suspended right back Branko Pauljevic should help as they look to gain confidence from their first win last week.  With no midweek European fixture they should be well-rested for the first time all season.

Paks are struggling out of the gate, but they’ll be bolstered a bit by playing at home for the first time this term.  They’ve lost six of their last seven league matches dating back to last season, having scored just 3 goals in that span.   Lilák heap on the misery.

Prediction: Paks 0-1 Újpest


NB1 Round 3 preview

Round 3 of the NB1 kicks off on Saturday and there are some great matchups this week.  Read on for a preview of this week’s action and predictions by Paul Treso and Chris Barrett

Paul: Chris, once again  21 goals are scored this week in another offensive weekend.  Only two clubs, Ferencváros and Honvéd have perfect records after the first two weeks in what promises to be a competitive season.  Congratulations to Mol Vidi FC who became the first Hungarian team to win two rounds in the Champions League.  In 1995, Ferencváros only had to beat one team, Anderlecht, to make the Champions League. My, how times have changed!

Chris: Yes, and now that Honvéd and Újpest are out of the Europa League they, and the rest of the field, will turn their attentions fully on the league.  This week has so many great games and I can’t wait to get them.  Lets go!


Saturday, 4 August


Puskás Akadémia vs MTK Budapest

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

Paul: Puskás had a quick two goal lead against Diósgyor and were lucky to come away with a draw.  I don’t see things getting much better this week as Puskás, outside of Diallo, do not have much offensive punch.  Another draw is their best hope here.

MTK were brought back to earth against Ferencváros with a 4-1 thrashing at home.  Is it me who’s the only one who finds it odd not to have stands behind both goals?  A draw here gives MTK one win, one loss, and a draw to begin the season.

Prediction: Puskás 1-1 MTK

Chris: MTK saw 25 year old defender Bence Deutsch leave the game after just 6 minutes against Ferencváros last week.  After successful foot surgery he’ll be out until November.  New signing István Bognár has looked timid and against Fradi it was only too evident as they needed a spark in attack and he failed to deliver.  It should be interesting to see which MTK we’ll see in Felcsút.

Puskás got a point last week in a game they could have won.  The game lacked discipline (9 yellow cards and one red) with Gábor Molnár being dismissed in the second half.  Heading back home, Puskás should be wary as they haven’t won against MTK at Pancho Aréna with two defeats in their last two head-to-head.

Prediction: Puskás 1-2 MTK


Debrecen vs Diósgyőr

at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Paul:  Debrecen has firmed up their back line, have a formidable midfield but lack goal scoring due to injuries.  This match should prove to bring some goal scoring alive but these regional battles tend to be close no matter what the skill difference.

Diósgyőr almost came up with a win against Puskás but were denied on a missed penalty kick.  I have to give them credit for coming back from two goals down  and showing some fight.  They should give another battle against Debrecen  but in the end come up a bit short.  

Prediction: Debrecen 2-1 Diósgyőr

Chris:  Debrecen are unbeaten in their first two games of the season with right back Erik Cikos looking like a very smart summer acquisition by Loki.  They have historically done well against Diósgyőr at home, winning ALL 13 of their last home head-to-head matches against Miskloc dating back to 2010. 

Diósgyőr are not looking very good this season and despite coming back against Puskás last week, they were unable to get the victory playing against ten men for the final 21 minutes.  They were lucky to get the draw and they’ll be lucky to escape Debrecen with anything more than a close defeat. 

Prediction:  Debrecen 2-1 Diósgyőr


MOL Vidi vs Mezőkövesd

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút (postponed)

Chris:  With this game being postponed to a later date my prediction is that we will see a quiet game with not much action and absolutely no scoring. :D

Prediction: Vidi PPD Mezőkövesd


Ferencváros vs Haladás

at Groupama Arena, Budapest 

Paul: Ferencváros is off to a flying start in the NB1 and scoring goals.  This does not look to stop in this match especially at home.   I don’t believe they will score four goals again but how about three?

Haladás had a hard fought draw last week against Újpest and things will not get any easier against an in-form Ferencváros.   It seems not so long ago that Haladás opened their new stadium with a surprising win against Fradi.

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-0 Haladás

Chris: I don’t see how Thomas Doll is going to keep all of his players happy when it comes to playing time with only one game a week.  Fradi are looking really good at the moment and when it comes to playing at Groupama Arena they’re unstoppable.  I’ve been particularly impressed with Gergo Lovrencsics and Miha Blazic on the back line, and Roland Varga continues to find ways to score.

Haladás did well to battle to a draw against Újpest last week, with Michael Rabusic scoring just his second goal since his arrival in February.  Goalkeeper Gábor Király was bruised in a clash with Somá Novothny and his status is questionable.  Ferencváros loanee Tamás Priskin is serving his second game of a four-match ban for Haladás.  I can’t see Hali getting anything out of this one - especially without Király or Priskin.

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-1 Haladás


Sunday, 5 August


Honvéd vs Paks

at Bozsik József Stadion, Budapest

Paul: Honvéd looked terrible in their trip to Luxembourg.  The match was painful to watch but I did.  There lack of quality forwards finally caught up with them in Europe.  In Hungary, they may be able to get away with Danilo and developing  young future striker(s). 

Paks seems to play up or down depending on the level of their opponents.  Based on that fact they should give Honvéd a run for their money in this match.  In my upset of the week, they come up big against  a tired Honvéd.

Prediction: Honvéd 2-3 Paks

Chris: I’m still sticking the theory that Honvéd became too dependent upon Davide Lanzafame (right Gayle?) and now they are beginning to grow as a team without him.  Danilo will flourish with more minutes and Daniel Gazdag has looked very good in the middle so far. 

This will be the third consecutive away game to open the season for Paks.  Their match against Vidi was at the best possible time for them to pick up a point at Pancho Arena as the champions had one eye on Ludogorets and another on their fitness levels.  Even with the draw, Paks didn’t look great.  Zsolt Haraszti has been the bright spot in a lineup that just doesn’t sparkle very much. 

Prediction:  Honvéd 1-0 Paks


Újpest vs Kisvárda

at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest

Paul: Újpest was very respectable in their home match against against Sevilla.  I was still surprised it wasn’t a full house but kudos to the Lilak for scoring a goal.  Back to Hungarian football and a nice match against a team in turmoil.  It will be surprisingly close for a half  but comfortable two goal win nonetheless.

Paging Attila Pinter, there is a job opening in the Hungarian first division!  I can’t remember a faster firing, just two games, of Elemér Kondás.   I’m not sure what Kisvárda is thinking with this decision after only two matches in a 33 match season.   Desperation?  The manager is blamed as it’s always easier than to fire 11 players.  Expect a little added motivation but similar results for the little team that right now “can’t.” 

Prediction: Újpest 3-1 Kisvárda

Chris: Watching the postgame interview of Újpest manager Nebojsa Vignjevic after their Europa League defeat against Sevilla this week, I was convinced more than ever that he’s a man of ambition, passion, and determination.  If he could get half as much of what he has in some of his players they could challenge for the title this season.  Donát Zsótér, who hasn’t looked great in the league so far, scored a fabulous goal against Sevilla in defeat and he looked like the hardest working player out there.  Hopefully, for Lilák’s sake, he can maintain that form that saw him become an integral part of their attack last season.

Kisvárda are a mess after two games.  Their summer signings look weak and ineffective and now they are with an interim manager after Kondás’ sacking.  Add to that the absence of central defender Martin Izing who is out with a knee injury and Újpest should have a field day at home.

Prediction: Újpest 3-1 Kisvárda


NB1 Round 2 Preview

Not much has changed since the end of last season as MOL Vidi FC are back on top of the league after round 1 with Ferencváros just behind them.  Read on for a preview of each game this weekend as the season gets into stride.

Paul: Chris, it was a nice start to the season with an amazing 21 goals, in fact the most goals scored in the first round in recent memory.  A hot beginning to the season.  Not a lot of surprises in my eyes.  But as we all know the surprises will come, perhaps as soon as this weekend.  I do like the Saturday/Sunday split of games. And would like that to continue as it splits up the weekend matches.   On to round 2 where the season should get cooking as does the warm temperatures in Hungary.

Chris: I’ve never been to Hungary in the summer so I wouldn’t know, but I know California is literally on fire at the moment so I’m sure Budapest in July pales in comparison to where you live right now.

I also like the split of games over the weekend.  It allows me to watch more of the action.  About those games … let’s take a closer look.


Saturday, 28 July


Diósgyőr vs Puskás Akadémia

at DVTK Stadion, Miskolc

Paul: Diósgyor was predictably pummeled last week by Ferencváros.  They will have a struggle all season to stay up in the top flight.  This is a winnable match for them but I am not sure if they have enough firepower, despite the home match support, to win here.

Puskás did not show much in going scoreless and losing at home to Debrecen.  Not much change has happened to the club even with a new  manager.   I don’t see many goals or excitement in this match.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-1 Puskás Akadémia

Chris: Fernando’s Diósgyor are really no better than when he took over in late April.  It was after they lost at home to Puskás in the spring when the Spaniard took over.  Since then they’ve lost five and won twice (one of which was against a depleted Videoton side at the end of the season). DVTK lost both of their home friendly matches as well. 

Puskás may not have had a positive start last week but they can draw upon their last two games at Diósgyor where they’ve been victorious in both trips.  In fact, the Academy has won three of their last four against Miskolc.  It’s difficult to be a DVTK fan right now.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-2 Puskás Akadémia


MOL Vidi vs Paks

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

Paul:  Vidi came away from Razgrad with a scoreless draw but like in Belgrade, the return match could turn turn out to be a fiasco.  The squad has not improved much from last year with the same cast of characters back again to try to repeat for the championship.  More goals should come from this match against a wide-open Paks club.

One thing that we can count on in Paks matches are goals.  Last week, Paks found themselves on the short side of the stick against Mezőkövesd.   Things should be the same in this match against a Vidi club who, despite playing mid-week, should have no trouble scoring goals in bunches.  

Prediction: Vidi 3-1 Paks

Chris:  Vidi couldn’t have asked for a better first leg in Bulgaria with a goalless draw against Ludogorets in Champions League qualifying.  Now, with attentions turned back to the league, the attack-heavy Vidi side should be able to rotate enough up front to keep the pressure on Paks at home.

If Paks were an attacking side they might be able to take advantage of a tired back line, but Paks have been woeful.  They lost their last three of the season and opened up their new campaign with a 3-1 defeat against Mezőkövesd last week.  Vidi have won their last four home matches against Paks with three clean sheets.  

Prediction:  Vidi 2-0 Paks


Debrecen vs Mezőkövesd

at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Paul: Debrecen found a way to win last week with a nice  goal by their new signing Ezequiel Calvente.  I’ve always liked Calvente and he could prove to be a valuable signing for the squad.  The strike force seems to be a concern after several great chances were squandered by the forwards.

Mezőkövesd continued their late form from last season in a convincing wins against Paks.  While not a team of stars, they play well together and are a tough foe for anyone.  Manager Attila Kuttor has formed a solid defensive squad that can score goals.  This should be an intriguing and hard fought match.  Upset of the week.

Prediction: Debrecen 1-2 Mezőkövesd

Chris:  Last season Mezőkövesd started the season with consecutive wins over Debrecen and Paks and they actually topped the league for a blink of an eye after two rounds.  Their next win, however, didn’t come until late November with six of their 9 defeats coming without scoring a goal during that stretch.  

Debrecen have lost just once in their last 8 games at Nagyerdei Stadion.  They’re not a bad team when healthy and showed that last week with a gutsy, patient win in Felcsút.

Prediction: Debrecen 2-1 Mezőkövesd


Sunday, 29 July


Honvéd vs Kisvárda

at Bozsik József Stadion, Budapest

Paul: Honvéd continued their good European form with a one goal win despite the loss of Danilo to injury.  Manager Attila Supka has strengthened his back line by going with a three defender system.  A home match against a newly promoted squad should prove to produce another win for Honvéd.

Welcome to the NB1 Kisvárda!   And  a second straight away match to boot.  There is quite a difference from the second to the first division.  Of course, playing the defending champions in their first match was not an easy task.  Things don’t get much easier playing an in-form Honvéd away from home.  Expect another loss but Kisvárda should score their first NB1 goal ever in this one.

Prediction: Honvéd 2-1 Kisvárda

Chris: I’m surprised how good Honvéd have been at the start of this season, especially after losing 32 goals and 18 assists worth of offensive production in Davide Lanzafame and Márton Eppel.  Their exit has turned the spotlight on Brazilian forward Danilo who has looked good both in the Europa League and in NB1 scoring 3 goals in three games.  They managed a good win over Haladás last week in between Europa League games and they seem unfazed by the the early fixture congestion.

Kisvárda were unlucky to have been reduced to ten men after just 12 minutes against Vidi last week.  That made life difficult for newly-signed Brazilian goalkeeper Felipe who, despite saving a penalty, conceded four goals as they were broken down fairly easily by the reigning champs.  This should be an entertaining game as Kisvárda look to avoid a two-defeat start to their season.

Prediction:  Honvéd 3-1 Kisvárda


Haladás vs Újpest

at Haladás Sportkomplexum, Szombathely

Paul: Tamas Priskin came on loan to Haladás in hopes of reviving his career.  He scored a goal on the positive side but received a 4 match ban for an uncalled for elbow on an opponent.  His career has spiralled downward since his magical goal against Norway way back when.

Újpest moved on in Europe in spectacular fashion but came back to earth with a loss against MTK.  Can they begin the season with two losses in a row?  Playing at Haladás is no easy task these days but look for the Lilak to pull out at least a draw here.   Special praise to the Lilák who, despite playing with a man down at Sevilla, gave a respectable effort. 

Prediction: Haladás 1-1 Újpest

Chris: Both of these teams had discipline issues last week with Priskin gone for Haladás and both Branko Pauljevic and Benjamin Balázs suspended for Újpest.  I also think that this is a difficult game to predict as Hali will struggle in attack without a target man, and Lilák shell-shocked after consecutive defeats without scoring a goal.  This might be a wild pick, but I’m banking on no goals in what will prove to be a boring affair in Szombathelyi.

Prediction: Haladás 0-0 Újpest


MTK Budapest vs Ferencváros

at Hideguti Nandor Stadion, Budapest 

Paul: Nice opening win for MTK against Újpest. They have a second Budapest derby in a row against Fradi in what should prove to be an entertaining match.  The scoreline should be much closer and an entertaining match as well.

Ferencváros did well to put their European exit behind them and start the season with a convincing win.  Everyone season proves to be challenging with so many players coming and going for Fradi.  Now they can concentrate on the NB1 and challenge again for the title.

Prediction: MTK 1-2 Ferencváros

Chris: Thomas Doll will be basking in the glow of a season-opening demolition of Diósgyor last week.  But where they struggled last season was away from home where they scored just 22 goals in 16 games with just five victories.  MTK are not your run-of-the-mill promotees and will give Fradi everything they can handle.  They’ve only lost one of their last five head-to-head meetings with Ferencváros as well.  Their win against Újpest at Szusza Ferenc last week shows they know how to grind out a result.

Prediction: MTK 1-1 Ferencváros