NB1 Round 29 Preview

Welcome back to the most exciting league football league Europe has to offer!  Think we’re crazy?  Just stick around awhile.  The drama and season-long competitiveness of NB1’s smaller, 12-team league has produced some memorable games and and stoked some heated rivalries.  As we head into final act every team has their part to play.  With so much still up for grabs and a revived Haladás rising from the dead and climbing into the fray from the bottom of the muck - this week has all the tension of a Walking Dead finale.  Join us as we plunder the riches of this glorious league with six matches on Saturday - all the team news and predictions are below.  Enjoy! 

Paul: Chris, the season (like life) has gone by much too fast.  It’s hard to believe there are only five match days left in the season.  The excitement appears to be the in the relegation battle.    It could be two of any five clubs who could go down next year.   The battle for European spots is a bit crazy at the moment with the added element of the Hungarian Cup winner as yet to be determined.  The marquee matchup of the week, Ferencváros against Mol Vidi, has lost a bit of its luster but should feature some good quality football (we hope).  Round 29, let’s do this!.

Chris: Yeah Paul, I think we’re all feeling the tension of the stretch run but that’s what makes this time of the year so great.  Ferencváros are sizing up their crown as we speak, but a slip up on Saturday could create a frenetic last few weeks at both ends of the ladder.  There are three big games in the capital this week which should provide a festive atmosphere all around the city.  It looks like we are on the same wavelength for the majority of this week’s games. On to the matchups!

Saturday, 20 April

Puskás Akadémia vs Mezőkövesd 

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

Paul: Puskás were once a very good home squad which made them a mid-table team and kept them out of the relegation zone.  That is no longer true and they are very much in the relegation battle.  I don’t often predict scoreless matches if at all, so a scoreless draw let it be.

Mezőkövesd gave Fradi a good battle before losing by a goal which could have rattled the standings a bit.  This week finds them away at Pancho Arena.  They have lost their last three away matches which makes it very difficult to predict a win here.   I will play it safe and call for a draw.

Prediction: Puskás 0-0 Mezőkövesd - 17-2 with Unibet (Draw 11/5)

Chris: András Komjáti’s first game in the dugout for Puskás was a measured success as they got a lucky away point at Paks without the serivces of three suspended players.  Winger Bence Sós, leading scorer Josip Knezevic, and team skipper Roland Szolnoki all return to the lineup this week.  Pancho Aréna is where they’ve found the lion’s share of their success and I’m certain Komjáti has made it clear that relegation is not an option.  Center back János Hegedus should be back to full fitness which will make things more difficult for the visitors.

Mezőkövesd played well last week but they were eventually overwhelmed by the talented front-runners.  They are one win away from realistically assuring another season in NB1, but their current form doesn’t inspire - they’ve lost their last three away, scoring just once in that span.  Attila Kuttor felt his team could have gotten more against Ferencváros last week but, quite frankly, they caught Rebrov’s side on a bad day and couldn’t secure a point at home. I can see Puskás doing what they do so well this time of year - confounding logic to secure safety.

Prediction: Puskás 2-1 Mezőkövesd - 7-1 with Unibet (Puskás win 17/20)

Kispest captain Kamber not available against Újpest

Újpest vs Honvéd

at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest 

Paul: Újpest played a respectable match against Mol Vidi in losing by a goal. Now they are at home where they are very strong.  The only Budapest derby of the week should mean a great atmosphere as both clubs have strong followings.  A narrow win by a goal in a hard fought match for the Lilák. I see Újpest making it to Europe even with so many variables left in the season.

Honvéd lost a chance to gain some ground in their quest for European football.  They are nearing the point where they must win the Hungarian Cup for a Euro spot. Honvéd play another squad above them in the standings and a win is a must.  Unfortunately,  they are a club with quite poor recent away form which is putting it mildly as they have lost four of their last five matches away.

Prediction: Újpest 2-1 Honvéd - 17/2 with 888 Sport (Újpest win 6/5)

Chris: Obinna Nwobodo’s absence hampered the Újpest offense last week and Lacina Traoré looked frustrated and slow in attack.  With starting left back Dzenan Burekovic suspended this week it weakens the normally watertight Újpest defense.  Against a better offensive threat that might be a problem, but Honvéd haven’t been prolific by any stretch.

Honvéd have problems of their own as manager Attila Supka continues his three-match ban while captain Djordje Kamber will sit this one out due to accumulated yellow cards.  They’re also currently in the semifinals of the Magyar Kupa and labored a to a 2-1 victory against second-tier side Soroksar at home in the first leg this week.  The second leg is scheduled for next week and they’re certain to have an eye on that match as it is probably their more realistic route to continental football in the summer.

These two played to draws in their first two meetings this season, but with Honvéd having to juggle their squad I think Újpest continues their unbeaten run at home.

Prediction: Újpest 2-1 Honvéd - 17/2 with 888 Sport (Újpest win 6/5)

MTK vs Kisvárda  

at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest 

Paul: Another match meant another loss for MTK last week which makes them losers of four of their last five matches.  They appear to be playing out the season with no focus or motivation.  I see that continuing this week as lately it appears to make no difference if their matches are home or away.

Kisvárda lost a big opportunity to put some distance between themselves and Diósgyor.  They are still only a point ahead of them to stay up in the NB1.  This match should come down to the team that is hungrier and more motivated so with that said, this is my “upset of the week.”

Prediction: MTK 1-2 Kisvárda - 11/1 with Betfair (Kisvárda win 7/2)

Chris: MTK had to play with a number of players recovering from a stomach illness last week and it showed as they ran out of gas quickly in a narrow defeat at Haladás.  They have narrowly lost both meetings this season against Kisvárda, and they have lost four of their last five and have won only one in their last eight.  

Kisvárda have picked up four points in their last two and they’re a much-improved side from the dire team that struggled through the autumn.  They’ll be without their only true left back Rados Protic who is suspended for this match.  They’re only other left back, Anderson Pico underwent surgery a couple of weeks ago and is back home in Brazil to recuperate.  László Dajka’s team is in survival mode right now and a point is important at this stage. 

Prediction: MTK 1-1 Kisvárda - 9/2 with Betfair (Draw 5/2)

Diósgyőr vs Paks

at Diósgyőri Stadion, Miskolc   

Paul: Diósgyor lost their last home match against the suddenly resurgent Haladás.  Taking three points at winnable home clashes such as this one are vital if they hope to stay up in NB1. I see Fernando rallying his squad to gain these vital three home points.

I am losing my faith in Paks after their scoreless draw against lowly Puskás last week.  I would never have guessed them to be in the relegation zone and yet here they are right in it.  They have lost their last three away matches and this next loss will make the final four weeks of the season something that Paks fans haven’t experienced in a while- the relegation battle.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-0 Paks - 6/1 with Royal Panda ( Diósgyőr win 129/100)

Chris: Diósgyőr need a win in the worst way and this might be their best shot in a while.  They have lost just once at home in their last eight and should feel confident to break their four-game winless run.  Their main problem has been generating offense.  Leading scorer Florent Hasani hasn’t scored in four games and in that span they’ve only managed to find the back of the net twice.  Dusan Brkovic has been an ironman in Fernando’s back line logging almost 2300 minutes this season.  The Serbian has been a major factor in keeping the opposition shut down.

Paks are a team who have been riddled with injuries and suspensions and haven’t won since February.  They’ve lost their last three away from home and, despite having two players return to the side after suspension (Simon and Könyves), they will have to do without two center backs (Lenzsér and Fejes) weakening an already paper-thin defense with Dávid Kulcsár and Zsolt Gevay on the long-term injury list. 

Paks felt they should have won last week in Felcsút but a good goal was chalked off in what appeared to be wrong offside call. They’re spiraling and hoping for a point here.  They won’t get it.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-0 Paks - 6/1 with Royal Panda (Diósgyőr win 129/100)

Bálint Gaál's late winner against MTK miraculously put Haladás back in the fight for survival.

Debrecen vs Haladás 

at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen 

Paul: Debrecen did well to earn a draw against Honvéd in the continuing battle for Europe.  This may be one of the most wide open matches as any of the three possible results would not surprise me the least.  Debrecen have won their last four home matches but I can’t quite see them pulling off five in a row.

Quick, which squad is the playing the third best football right now in the NB1?  A month ago no one would have said Haladás.   I  have no idea what their manager Ferenc Horváth has told his team but every Hungarian squad should find out and bottle it!  I am now a believer in the squad from Szombathely! 

Prediction: Debrecen 2-2 Haladás - 12/1 with SportNation (Draw 5/2)

Chris: Debrecen are still in the hunt for third place and are also in the midst of a semifinal against MOL Vidi in the Magyar Kupa.  They played a nearly full-strength side against Vidi in the first leg this week and will be looking ahead to next week’s second leg at home.  

I laughed out loud when I saw Haladás supporters wearing surgical masks in last week’s game against ill-stricken MTK.  The whole club seems to be in a good mood and it’s coming from the results on the pitch.  Because of Loki’s fixture congestion it’s a good time for Haladás to play them as Horváth’s side have been on fire, winning five of their last six games.  The rise of former Ferencváros midfielder Rui Pedro has given Haladás some real quality in attack and he’s actually improved the performances of fellow attackers Galin Ivanov and Reagy Ofusu in recent weeks.  I’m confident they can keep the good times rolling here despite the long trip.  My heart says a win for the basement dwellers but a draw seems more likely. 

Prediction: Debrecen 2-2 Haladás - 12/1 with SportNation (Draw 5/2)

Marko Futács scores the winner against Lilák to keep Vidi's slim title hopes alive.

Ferencváros vs MOL Vidi 

at Groupama Aréna, Budapest   

Paul: Fradi came close to losing their match last week which would have made this match a bit more important.  Now with Ferencváros on top of the league by eight points this match does not quite have the luster I had hoped for back at the start of the second half of the season.  Ferencváros have been nearly unbeatable at home and I don't see that ending this week.

Mol Vidi played a match mid-week defeating Debrecen in the first leg of the semi-finals of the Hungarian Cup.  The points lost in the first half of the season during the European campaign proved to be too much to make up.  They have played very well against Fradi in the league and the Hungarian Cup but a loss here most assuredly stamps their spot in the Europa Liga next season which we hope is exciting as the last.

Prediction: Ferencváros 2-1 Vidi - 7-1 with Unibet (Ferencváros win 17/20)

Chris:  This is the big one this week.  Ferencváros will be looking to exact revenge from their last meeting, a 2-1 bruising defeat in Székesfehérvár just before the winter break that left a few casualties on the pitch.  They will have a fresh and motivated Davide Lanzafame returning to the lineup this week after his internal suspension was served last week.  Sergei Rebrov appears to have his team cantering to the finish line and this would be the final nail in the coffin for their closest challengers.  They’re the only team that has remained undefeated at home this season and keeping that record intact against Vidi would put an exclamation point on an impressive domestic season.

Vidi have labored to keep pace with Fradi in the league and then struggled to hold onto a slim, first-leg victory over Debrecen in the cup this week.  The loss of Marko Scepovic has been felt, and attacking midfielder Georgi Milanov will likely join him on the injured list leaving this week Marko Nikolic with fewer attack options.  Marko Futács scored in the league and the cup this past week.  Perhaps his time has come to make an impact.  Nah.

Prediction:  Ferencváros 3-1 Vidi - 13-1 with Unibet (Ferencváros win 17/20)

NB1 Round 28 Preview

The Hungarian NB1 is gaining steam as the finish line approaches.  With Haladás turning up the heat at the bottom of the table they have created quite the stir throughout the whole league.  Teams were sold, managers were sacked, and lead-scoring Italian primadonnas were suspended (okay, okay … just one).  Read on for all the news and previews of this week’s must-watch games.

Paul: Chris, we are down to the final six rounds of the season with a lot to play for still.  We had the usual 16 goals scored in round 27 with four sides failing to score a goal.   Things are still up for grabs with the relegation battle becoming quite murky with Paks and Puskás added to the conversation.   Hoping to avoid relegation, Puskás went so far as to fire another manager. Perhaps the situation will be a bit clearer after this round but most likely not.  We will attempt to shed some light with some clever predictions.

Chris: It certainly has been an eventful week in the NB1.  It feels like there are deepwater currents moving through the league that have yet to surface.  The sale of Honvéd was a bit of a surprise and it will be interesting to follow where the new owners will take the club.  I agree that the bottom of the table has become the scene of an inevitable collision and it’s tough to take one’s eyes off of it.  There’s also the fight at the other end that might cool off depending on who commits to the the cup.  Interesting days ahead.  Stay tuned. Read on.

Saturday, 13 April

Honvéd vs Debrecen

at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Debrecen

Paul: Honvéd showed they can be defensive and gave Mol Vidi a tough match, ultimately losing at the very end by a goal.  I can’t seem to get a pulse on this squad and am usually wrong on my prediction.  This really hurts but sometimes I have to go by the numbers and not what I feel or think.  So in that case, and this is difficult to type, Honvéd wins.  Ok I did it.

Debrecen have lost their last four away matches which makes it very difficult to prognosticate any type of positive result here.  I would really like to see them make it to Europe but they must get some away results to make that happen.  The squad directly below them will draw three points closer with a win here.

Prediction: Honvéd 2-1 Debrecen

Chris: Honvéd have new owners this week and there’s already talk about replacing current manager Attila Supka with Haladás boss Ferenc Horváth.  Supka is banned from the bench for three games for offensive comments made in the tunnel after their last match.  Kispest conceded late against Vidi last week in a game they deserved a point from but their inconsistent offense let them down.

János Ferenczi and Ádám Bódi wreaked havoc on MTK’s right side last week and will be looking to keep the pressure high in their quest for third place.  Debrecen have won their last two and have created a four-point gap over fifth-place Honvéd.  A defeat for Honvéd will make it difficult for them to qualify for the Europa League this summer.  They handled Loki quite easily in their last meeting in Budapest but that was way back in August and I think Debrecen will do just enough to hold off Kispest with an eye to their Magyar Kupa semifinal match against Vidi next week.

Prediction: Honvéd 1-1 Debrecen

Davide Lanzafame pays for his unwillingness to share the spotlight at Fradi.

Mezőkövesd vs Ferencváros

at Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd 

Paul: Mezőkövesd fell apart at the end in losing to Újpest but did put up a good fight at a difficult place to play.  They tend to play Fradi very tough at home and this match should be no different.  Mezőkövesd have won their last two home matches and have only lost one in their last five.  A win against the top Hungarian club even at home is a bit too much to ask.

I have been wrong against Ferencváros so, so many times.   They have been consistent the whole season and deserve to be on top and win the championship.   This should be the typical “Rebrov” away match which is a win by a goal preferably in the later stages of the match.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 1-2 Ferencváros

Chris:  Mezőkövesd were hard done by last week at Újpest where they had a harsh, late penalty called against them and then fell apart to turn what was looking like a narrow win into a narrow defeat all in the span of a minute.  Even so, manager Attila Kuttor and his staff were rewarded with contract extensions this week and will be hoping to repay that faith by staying among the mid-table teams with a win against title favorites Fradi - but that’s easier said than done.

Ferencváros are cruising at the top of the table but that doesn't mean they don't have their fair share of drama. As I mentioned in a previous article, it now looks like Davide Lanzafame doesn’t like to share when it comes to playing time and the issue has cost the club's leading goal-scorer a place in the side.  A report has surfaced that he and Ferencváros manager Sergei Rebrov have had a falling out over the matter.  He wasn’t the only healthy player missing against Paks last week but Lanza has a history of having a short fuse and the club has confirmed his suspension for one week.  Heister, Lovrencsics, Siger, and Gorriaran were all rested in last week’s win over Paks.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 1-2 Ferencváros

Paks vs Puskás Akadémia  

at Fehérvári úti Stadion, Paks 

Paul: Who would have thought months ago that this match would have relegation implications?  Paks has lost four of their last five matches and, at this stage, it seems to make no difference whether they play home or away.  Fortunately their are facing an equally inept club and will make a statement that they are not a relegation squad at all.

Puskás were pummeled at home against Kisvárda so much so that they said “auf wiedersehen”  to János Radoki (canned response to the firing of German managers).   Will it make a difference?  András Komjáti hopes to keep the squad up in the first division as he did for Vasas back in 2010.   Not sure he will have the same success in Felcsút.  Side note, should a club that can’t even get attendance above 1,000 be allowed in the first division?

Prediction: Paks 3-1 Puskás

Chris: This match pits two teams who are dealing with their own brands of troubles.  Paks are still trying to cope with multiple injuries and now two of their starting attackers are out as well.  Both Norbert Könyves and András Simon are unavailable because of card bans this week.

Puskas have now lost three of their last five and are dipping closer to the relegation line.  The sacking of János Radoki wasn’t too much of a surprise as it continues the trait of a team that treats their players and staff as expendable assets with little room for failure.  They’re without a trio of key players - team captain Roland Szolnoki and leading scorer Josip Knezevic are banned due to yellow card accumulation, while Bence Sós will sit after his red card last week.

Puskás won 3-1 in their last trip to Paks but that was in the cup.  They have yet to win at Fehérvári úti and I think Paks will continue their league mastery over them at home. 

Prediction: Paks 2-1 Puskás

Is Kisvárda defying gravity with their spring form?

Kisvárda vs Diósgyőr

at Várkert Sportpálya, Kisvárda   

Paul: I can’t remember the last time Kisvárda won a match, but maybe just maybe their four goal win against Puskás will catapult them into a winning streak to end the season.  They can put some distance between themselves and the club directly below them in the table.  Their home form has been terrible lately but Diósgyor are known for curing the woes of home sides.

Huge loss last week for Diósgyor at home where they had been very good.  Now they are back on the road and have lost their last four away matches.   Relegation is looking more and more likely for the club from Miskolc.   They had been making some progress under their manager, Fernando but unless their find some away “magic”, they will be a second division squad next season.

Prediction: Kisvárda 3-0 Diósgyőr

Chris: This is a massive game for both sides.  Kisvárda stemmed a two-match losing streak with an impressive performance in a 4-0 win over Puskás.  Despite that being their first win since early February they are playing some really good football against the top half of the table.

Diósgyőr have lost three in a row overall and four in row away from home.  Both teams will be playing for their NB1 lives and there should be some desperation - especially for Fernando who’s suffered on the wrong end of three consecutive one-goal defeats and will want to stop the bleeding before they sink even further.  Their last two meetings ended 1-1 and that would be a safe bet here as well. 

Prediction: Kisvárda 1-1 Diósgyőr

Is it too late for Haladás to make a run for safety?

Haladás vs MTK 

at Szombathely Haladás Stadion, Szombathely 

Paul: Haladás are playing very well at the moment having won four of their last five matches. Rui Pedro has led the charge and wouldn’t it be something it the club could continue their rebirth and have their first division hopes come down to the final match of the year?  The revival continues with a win against MTK.

MTK came back to reality with a resounding defeat at Debrecen.   They will continue their poor way form and have only won once in their last five away matches.  This is a case of two clubs going in opposite directions.  Based on current form, I don’t see a good effort today from MTK.  Congratulation to József Kanta who made his 300th first division appearance last week for MTK - truly a rarity in football these days. 

Prediction: Haladás 2-1 MTK

Chris: Haladás got good news this week as Gábor Király’s 3-match suspension was reduced to just two games.  He’s already served both games and is available for this match, but co-leading scorer Tamás Priskin is out due to yellow card accumulation.   Even so, this team is playing out of their minds and this is a massive game against a team that’s been struggling of late. Rui Pedro has become a consistent danger man for Hali in recent weeks.

MTK have lost three of their last four games and will be up against it when they face Haladás in Szombathely.  They are also dealing with a large number of players suffering from gastroenteritis.  MTK requested to postpone the match because the sickness has affected 2/3rds of the squad but Haladás and the MLSz declined.  I can only see one winner.

Prediction: Haladás 2-0 MTK

MOL Vidi vs Újpest 

at Sóstói Stadion, Székesfehérvár   

Paul:  Does it seem like Vidi always plays the last match of the day?  Regardless, this should be another good match.  It’s important for MOL Vidi to take care of business here ahead of next week's battle with Ferencváros.  This should be a defensive match with a goal deciding it.

Újpest found a way to win ugly last week with three points being the major objective.  I see them giving Vidi all they can handle and leading most of the game before falling apart to lose by a goal.  I see this being a reversal of their match last week against Mezőkövesd.  

Prediction: Vidi 2-1 Újpest

Chris:  Vidi are fighting a battle on two fronts and one can see why they might rest some players ahead of their Magyar Kupa semifinal first leg match against Debrecen next week.  However, as we’ve seen all season long, Vidi manager Marko Nikolics has done very little rotation all season even when his side was in the Europa League.   The loss of Marko Scepovic leaves them searching for a target up front - something that Marko Futács has yet to prove he can do consistently. The former Hajduk Split striker has just one goal in eight games for Vidi.

Újpest will miss midfield maestro Obinna Nwobodo who looks to be out for an extended period.  They have been consistently strong in the back and have found the majority of their offense from penalties and/or flukes in recent weeks.  This “should” be a classic but I’m not expecting any fireworks in Székesfehérvár.

Prediction:  Vidi 0-0 Újpest

NB1 Round 27 Preview

The Hungarian NB1 is in the home stretch with seven weeks to go.  Check in with Chris Barrett and Paul Treso as they keep you up to date with all the news and what to expect from each match this week.  The previews are free and the predictions are not guaranteed but it’s still the best, comprehensive English preview of the NB1 in the world!

Paul: Chris, not a bad week for either of us!  In the course of a 33 round season, we have to have some weeks where we look great but truth be told, most of the time we look mediocre if that.  I must say I really enjoyed the Mol Vidi-Debrecen match.  What a way to end the week!  It was very good quality football to say the least.  16 goals were scored but the matches were competitive and exciting for the most part.  We have a few relegation battles this week which should be quite interesting.  Can Ferencváros be stopped?  The European places are still up for grabs as well.  

Chris: Yeah Paul you really called it with Pátkai scoring the winner for Vidi last week.  What a game!  There are still plenty of scenarios to sort in the league out despite Fradi’s coronation looking like a foregone conclusion.  Let’s get straight to the previews.

Saturday, 6 April

Debrecen vs MTK

at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Paul: Oh Debrecen!  For 80 minutes they were playing great and appeared to have the match in control.  Then things fell apart and they allowed two late goals to lose to Mol Vidi.  Super teen Dániel Zsóri almost was a hero again on a great header that need an equally great effort by the Vidi keeper to deny Loki the draw.  The young squad has won 3 home matches in a row and will make it four today.

The break and Diósgyor both provided a temporary respite for MTK from their recent struggles.   This match should put them back in the loss column as MTK has lost three of their last five away matches.  They are safe to stay up this season and should be content with that.  

Prediction: Debrecen 2-1 MTK

Chris: After a disappointing collapse at Vidi last week, Debrecen rebounded by advancing to the semifinals of the Magyar Kupa on Wednesday.  They are playing well and return home where they’re unbeaten in their last six. Dániel Tozsér and János Ferenczi are playing particularly well for Loki in recent games

MTK won their first game in six against relegation battling Diósgyőr last week and the jury is still out on whether new manager Tamás Lucsánszky is an improvement over his predecessor Tamás Feczkó.  Dániel Gera was on point with two goals last week and captain József Kanta finally looked back to form, but to carry that consistently will be the challenge here.

Prediction: Debrecen 2-1 MTK

Haladás romped past Puskás last week. Can they make a push for survival?

Diósgyőr vs Haladás

at Diósgyőri Stadion, Miskolc 

Paul: Our second relegation battle of the week.  A draw does no good for either squad so we should see some good effort on both sides.  Diósgyor is at home where they have not lost in their last five matches.  This will be a hard fought match with the boys from Miskolc winning  on a late controversial goal, perhaps by penalty.

I really respect  Ferenc Horváth and his Haladás squad.  Despite their league position and financial turmoil, they are playing their best football of the season.  Three of their five wins have come in their last five matches.  I would not be surprised if they win this match but based on their away form, I cannot pick a win though I came very, very close.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-0 Haladás

Chris:  Diósgyőr did well to start the spring season but they’ve now lost four of their last five including their last two.  They are unbeaten in their last six at home, however, and will feel like this is a must-win game to keep them in the fight for survival.

Haladás are actually running hot despite being in dead last.  The absence of suspended captain Gábor Király almost seemed to galvanize the team last week. They saw the return of co-leading scorer Tamás Priskin from a long injury absence, and loanee Rui Pedro showed what he is capable of with his best game so far.  This won’t be an easy game for Diósgyőr but they should be good enough to get a result.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-1 Haladás

Lanzafame takes out Kaharatin in Maygar Kupa quarterfinal collision

Ferencváros vs Paks  

at Groupama Aréna, Budapest 

Paul: Ferencváros played their typical “Rebrov” away match which means they won but not in too convincing a manor.  They are back at home where they are the best Hungarian home squad.  I see a comfortable home win for the club from District 9.  It is quite impressive what a deep squad they have now with what I believe is their best team in years.

Paks has lost three of their last four matches and seem to be falling apart before our very eyes.  A solid mid-table club in recent years is slowly entering the relegation conversation.  Things won’t improve this week and the only question remains by how many goals will they lose?

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-0 Paks

Chris: With the distraction of the cup out of the picture, Ferencváros can concentrate on locking up the title sooner rather than later.  The league leaders are still unbeaten at home and motivated to win.  The nasty collision between David Lanzafame and Igor Kharatin in their Magyar Kupa quarterfinal will likely keep the latter out of the lineup as they’re still mopping up the blood in Sóstói. 

Speaking of injuries, Paks are riddled with them to key players.  In addition to that they’re also on a poor run of form with four defeats and one draw in their last five.  Their starting four back line (János Szabó, Dávid Kulcsár, András Fejes, and captain Zsolt Gevay) are all out as well as midfielder Tamás Kecskés.  I’d be surprised if they put up much of a fight here.  They have drawn Fradi in their last three trips to Groupama but that run ends this week.

Prediction: Ferencváros 4-1 Paks

Puskás Akadémia vs Kisvárda

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút   

Paul: The first of our relegation battles.  Puskás has won their last two home matches and these matches are very important to them as they inch closer and closer to the relegation zone.  Truth be told, few Hungarian football fans would shed a tear if they were to fall down. They are a not a squad that plays many draws so regretfully I will pick them for a narrow win.

I have been wrong about Kisvárda and will admit that on record.  They do play close matches and played tough against Ferencváros last week.  But draws and losing tight matches do not keep a team up in the first division.  I am not too optimistic now about their chances to stay up in NB1 sadly.

Prediction: Puskás 1-0 Kisvárda

Chris: Puskás crashed out of the Magyar Kupa against NB2 side Soroksar and they turn their attentions to increasing their cushion from the relegation dogfight.  Home form has been their strong point with only 3 defeats in 13 games at Pancho Aréna this season.  The big news for them is that it looks like central defender János Hegedűs looks set to return to league action as he played on Wednesday in the cup.

Kisvárda have been through a run of tough matches against the best sides in the league and have actually played well without getting results.  This is a key match in their season and they’ll need to find the back of the net for the first time in three weeks if they’re to find success in Felcsút. 

Prediction: Puskás 1-1 Kisvárda

Can this man lead Újpest into a second place finish?

Újpest vs Mezőkövesd 

at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest 

Paul: Nice away win at Paks last week for Újpest.  They are slowly grabbing ahold of the third position in the table.  Defense is their strength and they have kept two clean sheets in a row.  A third win in a row is in the cards especially at home where they tend to play well.

Mezőkövesd scored a convincing home win against Honvéd but they have lost their last two away matches.  It’s nice to see Amadou Moutari play more as he should be starting on a consistent basis for this side.  Mezőkövesd will provide a challenge against the Lilak as they are in most away matches but come up a goal short. 

Prediction: Újpest 1-0 Mezőkövesd

Chris: Two weeks without their leading scorer Soma Novothny and Újpest have two wins.  Lacina Traoré is coming into form but they need to score from the run of play - something they haven’t done in two weeks.

Mezőkövesd won big against Honvéd and then lost to Debrecen in the cup midweek.  They’re not playing well away from home and scoring three in their last five away won’t cut it against the best defense in the league.

Prediction: Újpest 2-0 Mezőkövesd

Honvéd vs MOL Vidi 

at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest  

Paul:  Honvéd look like a team tired and lacking any interest at the moment.  They are set to lose their best player, Filip Holender in the summer and there are rumours of the club being sold.  Actually selling the club may not be a bad thing!  They have lost only one of their last five home matches which should sway me to predict a home win. Yet I can’t.  I see this club falling in the final ten matches of the season.  No Europe this summer I believe.

The championship run was almost over for Vidi until they scored two late goals to keep their slim hopes alive.  What a run for Máté Pátkai with game winning goals in the span of week against both Croatia and Debrecen.  If he does it again that would be unbelievable but this is Hungarian football as we all know.  But, I don’t think this match will come down to a single goal.  

Prediction: Honvéd 0-2 Vidi

Chris:  Honvéd are into the semifinals of the Magyar Kupa after a comprehensive win over Budaors and they have looked very strong at home this spring.  Vidi are also into the semis with a 3-1 aggregate win over Ferencváros but they lost leading scorer Marko Scepovic to a horrific facial injury in their midweek 2-0 win.  

Honvéd had the easier cup game and Vidi might be up for a struggle in Budapest.  There’s a lot of pressure on the title holders and they’re struggling to recover from two tough games this week -  it might just catch up to them.

Prediction:  Honvéd 2-1 Vidi

NB1 Round 26 Preview

We welcome back the NB1 this week after last week’s international break.  If you’re still buzzing about Hungary’s massive win over Croatia in Euro 2020 qualifying, don’t worry - so are we!  A number of stars from the league got some time at the national level, but none more memorable than (MOL Vidi midfielder) Máté Pátkai’s game-winning goal performance against the 2018 World Cup silver medalists on Sunday.  Now with the memory of that magical night in Budapest fading into the rearview mirror, we’ll turn our attention to the full plate of domestic matches on offer this Saturday. 

Paul: Chris, do we have to come back from the break  or can we bask in Hungary’s big win just a little longer?  That was a shocker but shows everyone what Hungarian football is capable of and why we believe in and follow Hungarian Football.  Nice to hear you and Tom Mortimer speak about the National Team matches in the Hungarian Football Podcast.  Let’s hope the spirit and hard work of that Sunday night continues in the NB1 and our predictions!  I’m ready!

Chris: Welcome back Paul (and all you band-wagoners)! It’s time for the the final push in the Hungarian top flight and we have (nearly) all the news we can drum up from around the league as well as our thoughts on how each of this week’s matches will turn out. Here we go!

Saturday, 30 March

Mezőkövesd vs Honvéd

at Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd

Paul: Mezőkövesd has only won one of their last five home matches.  They seem happy to be settled in as a consistent mid-table club.  As always they will be in this match and give the champions a run for their money.  They will come up a little short and lose the victory on a late Danilo goal. 

I have been wrong too many times on Honvéd and I can’t seem to figure them out.  They looked very solid against Paks and maybe just maybe David N’Gog will build on his last match where he scored a goal with two assists. They have not won in their last five away matches so I’ll call a draw.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-2 Honvéd

Chris: After two defeats in a row, Mezőkövesd are in need of a home win.  With leading scorer Stefan Drazic healthy it may bring them back into form.  They still have yet to utilize winger Moutari Amadou whom they acquired from Ferencváros during the winter transfer window and now might be a good time to try.

Honvéd won handily in their last match but they are away from home where they haven’t won in the league in their last six.  They should get a boost with both Danilo and Dániel Gazdag returning from suspension.

Honvéd have won at Mezőkövesd in their last four trips there but after the international break this is a match they’re ripe to stumble in.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 1-1 Honvéd

József Windecker turning out for Paks these days.

Paks vs Újpest

at Fehérvári úti Stadion, Paks 

Paul: These two clubs always seem to play entertaining matches and this one should be no different.  Paks has been a very average squad at home and is no longer a tough play to play for visiting teams.   Rather than a high scoring match, look for a defensive battle.

Újpest bounced back with a win over Mezőkövesd after a surprising loss to  Haladás.  The Lilak have only one one of there last five away matches and I don’t see that changing this week.  I came close to picking a Paks upset but I will chicken out and go with the safe draw.

Prediction: Paks 1-1 Újpest

Chris:  József Windecker will play against former club Újpest for the first time since joining Paks earlier this year.  The midfielder has had a slow introduction into the side but looks ready to become a first team regular for them.  The status of injured left back János Szabó is unclear but his absence has been felt with Paks winning none of the matches he’s missed since his injury a month ago.

Újpest returned to strong defending last round, holding Kisvárda without a shot on goal as they did just enough to take all the points.  New striker Lacina Traoré opened his account from the spot in that game and he looked useful for most of the 79 minutes he played.  The giant Ivorian should only get better as the season wears on.  Újpest will also be missing Vincent Onovo (suspension) but have Kire Ristevski returning to the side which will only make them even more impenetrable in the back.

Prediction: Paks 1-2 Újpest

Kisvárda vs Ferencváros  

at Várkert Sportpálya, Kisvárda 

Paul: Kisvárda has not gone on a win streak like I had thought they would to begin the second half of the season.  They aren’t playing badly but they need wins NOW  and not draws.  I think that changes in this match.  I am calling this the “upset of the week.”   They catch Fradi at the right time and come up with a win by a goal.

Ferencváros is still average on the road which should make this an interesting match.  Perhaps the break came at the wrong time for them as they have been playing great.  Their heads won’t be in this game I predict.   The race for the championship is still on with a loss here.

Prediction: Kisvárda 2-1 Ferencváros

Chris: Kisvárda are on a tough run of fixtures.  After losing at Újpest they will be hosting Ferencváros who are cruising at the top of the table.  Kisvárda have looked good at home, however, without defeat in their last six at Várkert. A lot of that can be attributed to resurgent captain Lucas as well as the injection of newly acquired Stavros Tsoukalas in midifield.

Sergei Rebrov should have a healthy Ferencváros squad at his disposal.  With Ivan Petriak returning from suspension it should prove to create some selection problems for him.  They do have a rather competitive cup match next week so we are sure to see an omission or two against the likes of Kisvárda but I think they still have to be the favorites here. 

Prediction: Kisvárda 1-3 Ferencváros

Haladás goalkeeper Gábor Király starts a three-match ban this week.

Haladás vs Puskás Akadémia 

at Szombathely Haladás Stadion, Haladás   

Paul: Haladás played a respectable match against Ferencváros only losing by two goals.  Manager, Ferenc Horváth has his squad  playing out the season with pride and effort.  Another win here and who knows maybe a miracle can happen in Szombathely?  Stranger things have happened in Hungarian football.

Puskás  Akadémia is miserable on the road and has won only one of their last five away matches.  Another loss here moves them further down the table and they become serious relegation contenders.  Can their home form be enough to keep them up in NB1?

Prediction: Haladás 1-0 Puskás

Chris: Haladás are having a tough week.  After a tough defeat against Ferencváros and the dubious dismissal of their captain/motivator Gábor Király, they,ve also learned that the club is in serious financial trouble.  If that’s not enough, new-signing Kornél Saláta has been ruled out for the season with a knee injury suffered against Fradi last round.  Thoughts return to the pitch this week against a very beatable Puskás side, however.  Haladás had won two in a row before running into the Fradi juggernaut and will like their chances at home against their fellow strugglers despite all of their problems.

Puskás came from behind to beat MTK at home last round as their frail defense almost let them down once again.  A poor away record and leaky defense are working against them in a match they should win but won’t.

Puskás came from behind to beat MTK at home last round as their frail defense almost let them down once again.  A poor away record and leaky defense are working against them in a match they should win but won’t. 

Prediction: Haladás 1-1 Puskás

MTK vs Diósgyőr

at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest 

Paul: The break could not have come at a better time for MTK.  They have not won in their last five matches.  Both their recent home and away form has been poor.  New manager, Tamás Lucsánszky hopes to right the ship or else they too will enter the relegation discussion.  I think they come back with a win here though by a goal.

Diósgyor played a respectable match against Debrecen in losing by a single goal.  They a two completely different squads depending on where they play.  Their offense has been almost non-existent  and the lack of goals will once again harm them as they are shut out in Budapest.  Budapest is not one of their favorite away venues. 

Prediction: MTK 2-0 Diósgyőr

Chris: MTK look to be sinking fast.  Injuries have been a factor this spring and they are without a win in five.  Their collapse in Felcsút last round was a disgrace and the new manager looks as helpless as Feczko was before he was removed.

Diósgyőr are not looking good away from home lately.  After conceding 12 goals against the two Budapest powerhouses they allowed just one in Debrecen a fortnight ago.  They haven’t scored in neither their last five trips to MTK nor their last three league away matches so it’s not looking good.  MTK haven’t fared well at home either, losing four out of their last five at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion.  With both teams struggling this could be an entertaining contest.

Prediction: MTK 2-1 Diósgyőr

Marko Futács breaks scoring duck against Mezőkövesd

MOL Vidi vs Debrecen 

at Sóstói Stadion, Székesfehérvár  

Paul:  This could be the most entertaining match of the week.  Mol Vidi have been playing much better lately. They must continue winning ways and hope Fradi lose some points here and there.   In a typical Vidi type match they get the points but not without a battle.  Their matches always seem to be won or lost by a goal these days.

In a pattern of Hungarian clubs, Debrecen are a completely different home versus away squad.   Debrecen find themselves in the third spot and competing for a place in Europe.  They will give Mol Vidi  a run for their money but lose late on Vidi goal, perhaps by Máté Pátkai?  

Prediction: Vidi 2-1 Debrecen

Chris:  Vidi can’t afford another slip up this spring as they are staring down the barrel of an eight-point gap with Ferencváros at the top of the table.  They’ve had their troubles scoring in recent games but will be feeling good against a team that has conceded 9 goals in their last four away games.  Marko Futacs finally opened up his account with Vidi last round in a narrow win over Mezőkövesd. 

Debrecen have been very efficient if not spectacular at home, but their away form leaves a lot to be desired.  Vidi are the better team and should be winning this one but stranger things have happened this season.

Prediction:  Vidi 2-0 Debrecen

NB1 Round 25 preview

The NB1 is headed for the international break and there will be plenty of incentive for each club to enter on a high note this week.  Read on for a full, in-depth preview of round 25 in the Hungarian top league.  If you aren’t riveted by this competition yet you just haven’t been paying attention! :) Rain is headed to every venue this weekend so don’t forget your umbrellas. 

I want to give a shout out to a couple of people who help each week.  Gayle keep us all updated on referee appointments and league discipline, and Aron helps translate a lot of the news and reports that can be confusing.  Thanks guys!

Paul: Chris, we are at the last week before a break for National Team matches.  It seems like we’ve only come back from the Winter.   18 goals were scored this week in fairly competitive matches overall.  The player of the week, according to the InStat-Index was Soma Novothny of Újpest who is now leaving for Korea.  We had a coaching change at MTK which made a few of us scratch our heads in confusion.  Off to round 25 we go before St. Patrick’s Day and some time off for everyone.

Chris: It’s been a grueling slog since the end of the winter break and we are now watching Ferencváros drift into an almost insurmountable lead at the top.  Fernando’s canceled party helped them grab all the points last week and Puskás dropped back into the relegation fray with their defeat in Miskolc.  Vidi are dropping points at the wrong time and they could be further behind the leaders if they don’t concentrate this week. Soma’s swan-song at Újpest was one to remember as last week’s brace-bagger heads to the Far East paving the way for another Lilák hero to emerge from their ranks.  Can Haladás do the unthinkable this week?  Take a breath … and let’s get into … the preview.

Saturday, 16 March

Puskás Akadémia vs MTK

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

Paul: Puskás  Akadémia is happy to be back at their beautiful stadium as they have lost four out of their last five away matches.  Based on their home form despite playing a superior club, I will go with the home win.

MTK confounded me by letting their manager go despite being mid-table.  Tamás Feczkó is a good manager and will find work elsewhere.  In the meantime, a bit odd to make the change now but we will see what happens here and after the break.  For now, it’s a bad move in my eyes.

Prediction: Puskás 1-0 MTK

Chris: Puskás are quickly falling into a relegation fight.  Janós Hegedus’ absence hasn’t helped in recent weeks.  They are a better team at home and should feel pretty fairly confident playing a struggling MTK side.  They signed Panamanian international forward Antonio Taylor this week until the end of the season.  The 29 year-old most recently turned out for Ottawa Fury in Canada. 

MTK parted ways with manager Tamás Feczkó this week in a bit of surprising move.  They are still struggling with injuries and especially missing captain Joszef Kanta.  Hard to say how they’ll respond to new boss Tamás Lucsánszky who was most recently the Ferencváros U19 manager.  This is a game that neither side can afford to lose and I don’t think either will.

Prediction: Puskás 2-2 MTK

Ferencváros vs Haladás

at Groupama Aréna, Budapest 

Paul: Ferencváros is playing very well and look unstoppable at the moment.  We had a Davide Lanzafame sighting as he scored two goals last week.  They have not lost at home all season and the only question here is by how many goals do they win?

Haladás has won their last two matches and I must commend them on their effort.  They could easily write off this season but as we know anything can happen in the NB1.  Earning any points here will be too much to ask of the side.

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-0 Haladás

Chris:  Ferencváros are now 8 points clear and in stellar form in the league.  They took a dip in their midweek cup match against Vidi, losing 2-1 at home in the first leg, but they rested key players in Davide Lanzafame and Gergo Lovrencsics.  The loss of Ivan Petriak to suspension will be a tough pill to swallow, but Roland Varga has been sensational in attack lately.  Dávid Siger’s injury will also be significant and it was evident he was missed this week against Vidi.

Haladás found a new hero last week in Funsho Bambgoye who scored twice in six minutes in a come-from-behind win against Újpest.  A result for Haladás at Groupama is a bit much to ask at this stage but, they did manage to win at home in their match against Fradi back in November.  They’re also playing a Fradi team that are playing a lot of football in the last few weeks.  Haladás will enter with some confidence but Ferencváros haven’t lost in the league at Groupama all season and that shouldn’t change this week.

Prediction: Ferencváros 2-0 Haladás

Where will Lilák look to for goals now that Soma is gone?

Újpest vs Kisvárda  

at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest 

Paul: Újpest followed their fellow Budapest rivals Honvéd in falling to bottom dwellers, Haladás.  Losing Novothny can’t be good as he as was just appearing to find his form.  They are a solid home squad and I see a draw here.

Kisvárda once again played well and secured a draw but draws will not keep them up in the first division.  They are a squad that deserves to stay up and they will do well here to secure a point at a difficult place to play.

Prediction: Újpest 1-1 Kisvárda

Chris: Újpest goalkeeper Filip Pajovic is eating his words after claiming to be the best keeper in NB1 before last week’s horrific collapse against lowly Haladás.  The rock-bottom club scored three unanswered goals in six minutes to overturn a 2-0 deficit and beat Újpest.  We did get our first glimpse of Lacina Traoré who didn’t seem quite up to the pace just yet.  Theophilus Solomon looks like the one who will replace Novothny up front but that won’t be confirmed until game-time.  Kire Ristevski will sit this one out due to suspension, but Mijusko Bojovic is a more than adequate cover in the Lilák defense. 

Kisvárda have cooled down after winning three in a row as part of a run of five games without defeat.  However, they still only have one defeat in their last nine games.

Újpest will be looking to make amends from last week as manager Nebojsa Vignjevic has been seething all week. I sense a response from the hosts here. 

Prediction: Újpest 2-1 Kisvárda

Honvéd vs Paks 

at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest   

Paul: Honvéd find themselves slowly moving down the table and stand in the fifth spot.  They lost their last home match to Haladás and seem to lack spark and cohesion.  I don’t see the situation improving this week even against a poor Paks side.

Paks rose to the occasion to earn a draw against Mol Vidi at home.  They find themselves in a similar situation as Honvéd so this shouldn’t be too exciting of a match on paper.  I see a low scoring draw here, nothing more and nothing less.

Prediction: Honvéd 1-1 Paks

Chris: Honvéd had to come from behind and beat NB2 side Budaors in the cup on Wednesday.  They continue to look suspect in attack and they’ll be without second leading scorer Danilo who will miss this one - this time due to suspension, not injury. 

Paks saw leading scorer János Hahn return to scoring ways last week in their brave 2-2 home draw against Vidi.

The rainy conditions suit Paks, and with Honvéd without one of their best finishers they’ll struggle to get something out of this one. 

Prediction: Honvéd 1-1 Paks

MOL Vidi vs Mezőkövesd

at Sóstói Stadion, Székesfehérvár 

Paul: Mol Vidi defeated Ferencváros mid week in the Hungarian Cup but can we read much into that?  They must continue to win and hope that Fradi has a few loses along the way.  This will be another hard fought match but Vidi will come out victorious by a goal.

Mezőkövesd have only won one of their last five home matches.  They seem happy to settled in as a mid-table club.  As always they will be in this match and give the champions a run for their money.  They will come up a little short on a late Vidi goal. 

Prediction: Vidi 2-1 Mezőkövesd

Juhasz controlling the box despite close attention.

Chris: MOL Vidi couldn’t keep pace with Ferencváros in the league last week as they dropped points at Paks in a disappointing draw.  However, they did fashion some revenge with a 2-1 win over the league leaders in the cup this week.  They’ve won their last two at home but Mezőkövesd will be tough competition.  

Mezo were held goalless for the first time in six games last week and their form has looked inconsistent.  Gábor Molnár was almost nowhere to be seen last week while leading scorer Drazic was not in the lineup for a second straight week.  They also lost their cup match 1-0 to Debrecen midweek.  Mezőkövesd did beat Vidi at home back in November but the expectation here is that Vidi should win at home.  If they don’t they’ll be handing over the championship sooner rather than later.

Prediction: Vidi 2-0 Mezőkövesd

Debrecen vs Diósgyőr 

at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen 

Paul:  This is a clash between two of the Eastern clubs in Hungary and has developed into quite a rivalry.   Debrecen have won their last two home games and I see no reason for them to make it three in a row in a hard fought match.

Nice to see Diósgyor bounce back with a win and a shut out to boot.  They have lost their last two away games after winning their prior two away matches.   It looks like they may have tightened their defense but their lack of offense remains a concern.  

Prediction: Debrecen 1-0 Diósgyőr

Chris:  Debrecen beat Mezőkövesd last week and added a cup win on Wednesday against them for good measure to give them a huge boost heading into their derby against Diósgyőr.  They are currently sitting in third place and are expecting the returns of Ádám Bódi (who played in the cup midweek) and last season’s leading scorer Haris Tabakovic soon, if not this week.

Diósgyőr are good spirits after a narrow win over fellow relegation-battlers Puskás last week.  Fernando will be without defensive stalwart Márk Tamás (who was sent off against Puskás), but will welcome back Dusan Brkovic and Dejan Karan who will reinforce their back line.  

More than likely a low-scoring draw on the cards here.

Prediction:  Debrecen 1-1 Diósgyőr

NB1 Round 24 Preview

Just ten rounds remain in the 2018-19 NB1 season and there are still exciting storylines at either end of the table.  Újpest’s latest signing Lacina Traoré is preparing for this first appearance in a Lilák shirt.  Ferencváros’ Davide Lanzafame must be wondering what his role will be on the title-chasers’ squad, and Fernando cancels the party in Diósgyőr.  All this in this week’s preview of the NB1.

Paul: Chris, 18 goals were scored in round 23 with an amazing seven coming from Ferencváros in their rout of Diósgyor.   Even adding up our two predicted scores, we only came up with a total of 5 Fradi goals.  Take away those goals and only 11 were scored in the other five matches total.  According to In-Stat Index, the player of the week was Mikalay Signevich of Ferencváros, who is proving to be a good signing from BATE Borisov.  With that said, let's move on to our round 24 predictions.

Chris: With the drama of title and relegation battles as well as watching new players integrate into the league, the NB1 continues to entice each week.  Yeah Paul, who would have predicted Ferencváros’ scoring spree last week?  Also, who would have thought Haladás would have beaten Kispest in a bizarre match at the “prison yard.”  So much is unfolding this week.  Read on for an in-depth look at this week’s games. 

Saturday, 9 March

Paks vs MOL Vidi

at Fehérvári úti Stadion, Paks

Paul: Paks looked very flat in their last match losing to Mezőkövesd.  They should get up for this match but a loss moves them down to the relegation zone.  They must tighten up their defense or they may find themselves in a fight for survival in NB1.

MOL Vidi has now won three matches in a row and appear to be back in form.  They have lost defender Attila Fiola to injury but should do enough to earn the three points here in their fight for the championship.  With nine matches to go and Ferencváros playing very well, they need to pick up some points on the leaders soon.

Prediction: Paks 1-2 Vidi

Chris: Paks lost their first game of the spring at Mezőkövesd last week as they their defense faltered and, despite putting up a big fight in the second half, couldn’t find a breakthrough.  They’re still dealing with some long-term injuries and will be without András Simon up front.

Vidi have won five in a row and three on the trot in the league.  They weren’t at the races for a bit against Kisvárda but came back in the second half with some superb play by István Kovács who looked particularly fired up.  They signed a new right back from Spain, Joan Campins who isn’t likely to start but might be on the bench with Fiola out injured. Vidi won here 4-0 back in November but I can’t see a similar score line here.  Szabó’s injury has hurt Paks and his absence could (again) be the deciding factor.

Prediction: Paks 1-2 Vidi

Mezőkövesd's Gábor Molnár moments before bagging his second against Paks

Kisvárda vs Honvéd

at Várkert Sportpálya, Kisvárda 

Paul: Kisvárda played solid in their narrow defeat to MOL Vidi.  At home, they are playing a Honvéd side at the right time.  Their winter signings were very good and are proving to be positive additions to the club.  A strong performance will get them back to their winning ways in convincing fashion.

Honvéd received an old fashioned beating from Haladás and rightly so.  I see their slide continuing and don’t see them playing in the Europa League come fall.  They have lost their last four away matches and with this loss, make that five in a row!

Prediction: Kisvárda 3-1 Honvéd

Chris:  Kisvárda played bravely against Vidi last week but were unable to hold onto their unbeaten run against a motivated Vidi side in Székesfehérvár.  This week they signed former Mezőkövesd AM Mevoungou to shore up their midfield and are hoping to get his paperwork sorted in time to play on Saturday. 

Honvéd looked lost against dismal Haladás.  With Danilo not fully-fit they were forced to start N’Gog up front again and he did nothing to inspire that he’s the man to turn to in time of need.  Even their inspired new boy Änis Ben-Hatira couldn’t rescue them this time.  A trip to Kisvárda won’t be an easy task for them.  It's a good thing they still have Dávid Gróf between the posts.

Prediction: Kisvárda 1-1 Honvéd

Haladás vs Újpest  

at Szombathely Haladás Stadion, Szombathely 

Paul: Haladás showed some fight in their away win against Honvéd.   They are almost certain to fall to the second division but I believe they will play out the season and give respectable performances from here on in each match.

Újpest played a boring scoreless draw against MTK.  Looks like they left their goal scoring boots on the sidelines after scoring five in the prior match.  Their inconsistency comes up yet again and who knows what to expect in this match.  I will predict a draw but a loss would not surprise me in the least.

Prediction: Haladás 1-1 Újpest

Chris: Haladás won their first league game in three months last week as they toppled Honvéd in Budapest.  They return home this week to face the best defensive team in the league.  Two of their winter signings chipped in with goals last week (Holodiuk and Ivanov) to help them over the line.

Újpest have still only conceded one goal since the winter break and have only allowed 15 in 23 league games this season.  Even without Kire Ristevski they looked solid at the back and shouldn’t have any trouble denying Haladás.  Goalkeeper Filip Pajovic claimed that he was the league’s top goalkeeper based upon the team’s defensive record which forced a smile.  I think he’s not giving his back four their proper credit.

Lilák’s was back to old ways in the scoring department, however, as they dominated the game but couldn’t find the back of the net.  Perhaps the arrival of Lacina Traoré will help with this, but his inevitable debut remains unconfirmed.  The club extended manager Nebojsa Vignjevic’s contract this week as well as other key coaches and staff which should encourage the players and supporters with stability going forward.  

Props to Ferenc Horváth and his team for winning last week but I don’t think they’ll be able to deny Újpest here.

Prediction: Haladás 0-2 Újpest

Diósgyőr vs Puskás Akademia 

at Diósgyőri Stadion, Miskolc   

Paul: Puskás  Akadémia looked impressive with their decisive home win over Debrecen.   Josip Knežević scored two goals and if he can regain his goal scoring form that would be a big boost to the club.  Will they score five or more goals against a club that has given up 12 in their last two matches?  No,  but a comfortable win and the three points will suit them just fine.

What has happened to Diósgyor?  Their defense has fallen apart in their last two away matches.  On the plus side, this match thankfully is not in Budapest but regardless  their slide continues and they are looking more and more likely to join Haladás next season in the second division.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 0-2 Puskás

Chris: Diósgyőr manager Fernando Fernandes is in no mood to celebrate as he canceled a charity ball that the club was hosting for a local foundation.  After conceding 12 goals and scoring none in the past two weeks, Fernando has his team focused to return to recent successes that have pulled them back from the depths and into a fight for survival.  

Despite winning last week Puskás are still in the midst of said relegation scrap.  Puskás held off a rampant Debrecen even without their defensive anchor János Hegedus in the back.   

I think the last two weeks will have destroyed any pride in the Diósgyőr camp.  I’m backing them to return to a more hard-working, conservative style that allowed them some success at the start of the second half of the season.. 

Prediction: Diósgyőr 2-2 Puskás

Debrecen vs Mezőkövesd

at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Paul: Debrecen continue their roller coaster ride this season.  They have now lost two matches in a row after their impressive victory against Ferencváros.  They are a solid home side which should make this an interesting match.  The problem with Debrecen is that you never know which side will show up on match day.

Mezőkövesd have moved up to a position where they are now in the conversation for a spot next season in Europe.  To accomplish this, they must defeat clubs ahead of them.  First challenge up is Debrecen.  In another addition of the ‘“upset of the week”, my pick is Mezőkövesd to win and with that prove that they are not simply a middle of the table squad but a club ready to put their hat in for a European spot next season. 

Prediction: Debrecen 0-1 Mezőkövesd

Chris: Debrecen were relentless in attack last week but ended up on the wrong side of a 2-0 score line against Puskás.  The loss of Ádám Bódi to injury and the lack of any clinical finishing has them licking their wounds after consecutive defeats.  They return home after three consecutive away games.

Mezőkövesd looked great against Paks last week as Gábor Molnar led the way with a goal and an assist.  This is likely to be a tight affair as Debrecen are at home where they defeat Ferencváros in their most recent contest there.   Mezo are coming off a strong win at home and have a fully rested Stefan Drazic returning to the lineup..

Prediction: Debrecen 2-2 Mezőkövesd

Signevich has three goals in four games since joining Ferencváros this spring.

MTK vs Ferencváros

at Hidegkuti Nándor, Budapest 

Paul:  Three Budapest derby matches in a row for MTK and one finally at home.   They now find themselves in the 7th spot in the table and moving down now on a weekly basis.  They are close to becoming a relegation battling team.

What can you say about Ferencváros?  Rebrov appears to finally have his team clicking on all cylinders.  Daniel Lanzafame now find himself on the bench but could prove to be a valuable substitution when the situation warrants it.  The goal scoring cools down a bit but a comfortable win nonetheless.  

Prediction: MTK 1-3 Ferencváros

Chris:  Injuries are racking up for MTK  as they will hope to bounce back from defeat.  Their recent form at home, however, leaves little to be desired.  MTK have one just once in their last five games at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, and they lost their last two against Ferencváros there as well by a combined score of 7-2. 

Ferencvaros were rampant and have now won two in a row after a seven goal performance last week.  Lanzafame did score two goals last week and is NB1 top scorer along with Honvéd’s Filip Holender (10 league goals), but those two strikes (one was a penalty) were late on after the game was already won.  It’s fairly obvious the dour-faced Italian can see the writing on the wall - this is no longer his team.  Signevich, Gorriaran, and Varga got the headlines last week and rightfully so.  It’s almost as if Fradi are positioning Lanza for a summer move and they’re pulling all the right strings. We’re beginning to see Rebrov’s team come together and Lanzafame will have to decide if he’s happy sharing the spotlight - now will be a test of their resolve. With cup games coming up against Vidi there will be a call for all hands on deck, but after that Rebrov will have some decisions to make.  Can they find some consistency?  For this week at least. 

Prediction:  MTK 1-3 Ferencváros