NB1 Round 15 Preview

Welcome to our weekly preview and prediction column as Paul and Chris take a closer look at each of this week’s games in the NB1.  After the international break they’ll update on how the matches are shaping up as well as collect all the team info they can to give you a better picture of each side’s chances ahead of kickoff.  The amazing thing has been the similarity in the lads’ picks as the season has gone on.  This week is no different.

Paul: Chris, welcome back after a one week vacation from the Hungarian NB1.   Living in the US, the American thanksgiving holiday was celebrated on Thursday.  I wanted to list a few of the things I am thankful for regarding Hungarian Football.  Euro 2016 will be a forever memory and has raised my expectations while showing me that Hungary can compete at the World Level.  On a simple level having my expectations raised and expecting more of Hungarian football is an achievement in itself.  MOL Vidi is playing very well in Europe and the National Team looks to be headed in the right direction under Marco Rossi.  I am able to watch, no matter where I am in the world, any NB1 match thanks to the internet.  Who would have thought?  Let us be thankful for what we have and not dwell on what we don’t have.  Off to round 15 …

Chris: Yeah, I’m stuffed after the only civic holiday I know that was created around the embarrassing mass consumption of food.  But enough about American holidays - there is a full slate of Hungarian NB1 matches on our plate this weekend that should provide a feast for all of you ready for club football to return.  

Saturday, 24 November

Honvéd vs Mezőkövesd

at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest

Paul: Honvéd are in the second position and have proved there is life after Lanzafame.  They are not playing great football at the moment but are finding ways not to lose.  This match should be another one of those.   I don’t see a win here for the home side but a hard fought draw.

Can you guess the leading scorer of NB1 who is playing in this match?  Danilo, no, Lanzafame, no as he now longer plays for Honvéd.  It’s 24 year old Gábor Molnár with 7 goals who plays for Mezőkövesd currently while on loan from Puskás. Mezőkövesd is not a particularly strong away side but will find a way to earn a result here.

Prediction: Honvéd 1-1 Mezőkövesd

Chris: Honvéd will be playing their first “home” game since early October and are on an impressive run of six games without defeat in all competitions.  However, they haven’t had good form in front of goal, scoring (on average) just over a goal per game in the league.  They have been very stingy on defense conceding a league-lowest 8 goals. 

Mezőkövesd are in good form and have done well at Honvéd, winning two of their last three trips there and they should be bolstered after a narrow 1-0 win over champions Vidi in the last round.  Gábor Molnár has been nothing short of sensational since joining the club.  

Mezo played a friendly against Debrecen behind closed doors during the break and lost 4-2 with lots of rotation.

This is a tough game to predict but I’m sure it will be close and low-scoring.

Prediction: Honvéd 1-1 Mezőkövesd

Diósgyőr vs MTK

at Diósgyőri Stadion, Miskolc

Paul: Diósgyor surprised Debrecen at home two weeks ago  with an impressive win.  Another win may be too much to ask from the lads of Miskolc.  The squad keeps up their improved form and surprise MTK at home  with a draw.

MTK has been up and down lately but still find themselves in the third position.  Your guess in this match is as good as mine.  Away they have beaten Mol Vidi but lost convincingly at Paks.  My guess is an effort somewhere in between the above two.  A month ago this would result in a win against Diósgyor but this week I am not so sure ...

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-1 MTK

Chris:  Diósgyőr won their first game since early August last round and played to a goalless draw in a friendly against Balmazújváros during the international break.  DVTK have scored the least amount of goals in the league (11) and only six in 7 games at home so far.  They’ve actually been playing better of late and in their last six home games they’ve lost three but those have been against top-four clubs and two were only one-goal defeats. 

MTK won a cracker against Puskás last round and they’ve done fairly well away from home in their first season back in the top flight.  Starting right back Patrick Ikenne-King has been mysteriously absent in Tamás Feczkó’s lineup.  The former Honvéd player hasn’t been on the team sheet in MTK’s last four games. Veteran forward Sándor Torghelle continues to show that he has a lot to offer as he proves he can impact games whether starting or coming off the bench.

MTK defeated Diósgyőr 1-0 at home in their first meeting this season.  It’s another tricky fixture here and quite likely the hosts will get something from this one.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-1 MTK

Ferencváros vs Kisvárda

at Groupama Arena, Budapest 

Paul: The break came at the right time Ferencváros who were shockingly defeated by Haladás.  At the same time, during the break two players, Ivan Petryak and Stefan Spirovski, were injured playing for their respective national teams.  Yes this weakens Fradi but their home dominance and Davide Lanzafame will assure a victory.  Of course, playing  Kisvárda doesn’t hurt either.

Kisvárda have lost four of their last five matches.   Other than a surprise win away at MTK, they have been very poor away from home.  I don’t see another Haladás surprise here and Kisvárda will be lucky to score a goal.

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-1 Kisvárda

Chris: Ferencváros have lost some speculative games away from home including a disappointing 1-0 defeat before the break to Haladás.  However, they’ve done well to bounce back after those defeats and haven’t lost a competitive match at home all year.   It will be a blow to be without Petryak and Spirovski who were both injured on international duty - both have started every game and have played a big part in Fradi’s success. 

Kisvárda were hammered at home by Újpest last round and they’re leaking goals like the Titanic these days.  Can’t see another winner here but the hosts. 

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-0 Kisvárda

Puskás Akadémia vs Haladás

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút 

Paul: Puskás have won their last four in a row at home.  Yes that is not a typo ladies and gentleman.  On the flip side, they have lost their last five in a row away.  With a home match here a win is too much to ask but we will see a competitive draw.

Haladás defeated Ferencváros in the upset of the year so far in NB1.  The question now is can they keep up the momentum after the one week break?  Since this match is in Felcsút, a draw would be a respectable result here.

Prediction: Puskás 1-1 Haladás

Chris: Haladás secured their first win since August against league leaders Ferencváros before the international break.  It was a morale-boosting win for the club who have struggled through the first third of the season.  They defeated Puskás 3-2 in their first meeting this season at home but they’ve only picked up one point away from home thus far in the campaign. 

On the other hand Puskás have won their last four home matches including against the top three clubs.  They’ll be looking to return to form after a tough defeat at MTK last round. Bachana Arabuli has been playing well and has scored two goals in his last two games for Puskás.

Prediction: Puskás 3-1 Haladás

Újpest vs Paks

at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest

Paul: Újpest finds themselves in the fifth spot and have won their last three home matches in a row.  The club is finally rounding into form as injuries decimated the team earlier in the season.  The streak continues with a hard found home win against Paks.

Paks have been on a slight downward slide and now are in the eighth position.  The side is a totally different squad away than at home.  Regardless, they will give the Lilak a tough match but lose narrowly in the final minutes of the match. 

Prediction: Újpest 3-2 Paks

Chris: Újpest were victims of Vidi’s new stadium curtain-raiser this week as they fell to a narrow defeat in Székesfehérvár.  One positive is that both Alassane Diallo and Dániel Nagy returned to the squad off the bench in the defeat against Vidi and should be cleared to start against Paks. 

Paks held Honvéd to a goalless draw last game which was a good result, but they’ve been unable to find the back of the net in their last two.  

Újpest will welcome a return home where they’ve won their last three.

Prediction: Újpest 2-1 Paks

Sunday, 25 November

Debrecen vs MOL Vidi

at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Paul:  Debrecen have won their last three home matches though two weeks ago, they also were surprised by a lower level opponent, Diósgyor.  Debrecen can play with any one in the league but often find themselves playing at the level of their opponent.  That won’t happen here in a very entertaining match.

Mol Vidi once again play their usual two matches a week coming off a Wednesday match versus Újpest.  They are losing points every time this happens and are falling behind in the league.  The pattern continues but a tie will be a good result in Debrecen.  

Prediction: Debrecen 2-2 Vidi

Chris:  Debrecen fell disappointingly to Diósgyőr last round but have won their last three at home.  They played a friendly match against Mezőkövesd during the international break and won 4-2 to keep their top players match fit. 

Vidi played to a narrow win against Újpest on Wednesday and looked to have lost starting midfielder Georgi Milanov to an ankle injury.  The two teams played to a 1-1 draw in Felcsút in their first meeting of the season back in August.  Another draw looks on the cards in Debrecen.  Loki play a more open game at home and Vidi have scored eight in their last three league matches away from home. 

Prediction:  Debrecen 2-2 Vidi

NB1 Round 14 preview

Welcome to our weekly preview and prediction column as Paul and Chris take a closer look at each of this week’s games in the NB1.  They give you their expert opinion on how things are shaping up as well as collect all the team info they can to give you a better picture of each side’s chances ahead of kickoff.

Paul: Chris, we are a week away from a short break for the upcoming UEFA Nations League matches.  As normal we are starting to see some separation at the front and back of the table.  Kisvárda, Diósgyor, and surprisingly Haladás look set to battle it out for relegation.  On paper the round 14 matches appear quite straight forward but as you and I know, the NB1 is anything but straight forward.  Let the curves and surprises begin in week 14 of the NB1.

Chris: The temperatures are getting colder.  All of this week’s matches will be played in 10 to 12 degrees (celsius) colder weather than last week’s.  There are also some long trips this weekend (Újpest to Kisvárda, Fradi to Szombathely, and Vidi to Mezőkövesd on Sunday).  These are some factors to consider as you make your picks this week. 

Saturday, 10 November

Diósgyőr vs Debrecen

at Diósgyőr Stadion, Miskolc

Paul: Diósgyor simply can’t score goals and another loss has moved them further down the table.  Fernando is still the manager of the club, but the question remains “for how long?”  As the losses add up, one must ask when will Fernando be given the boot?

Debrecen has been a totally different club depending on playing at home or away.  That should change against Diósgyor but with their poor away form I cannot predict a win.   They will leave Miskolc and in doing so lose two points as well.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-1 Debrecen

Chris: Tamás Takács scored his team-leading 6th goal of the season off the bench for Debrecen last week as they stole a point in Mezőkövesd to extend their unbeaten run to five games.  Debrecen have owned the Eastern Derby, winning ten out the last 11 meetings between these two sides; and with Debrecen in good form it’s difficult to see Diosgyor getting anything here.

Diosgyor have been patient with manager Fernando.  They’ve looked better as the weeks progress but they aren’t getting results.  They’ve lost six in a row and are without a victory in their last eight.  Looks grim for the hosts.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-2 Debrecen

MTK vs Puskás Akadémia

at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest

Paul: MTK gave Fradi a tough match last Saturday but lost by two goals in the end.  This week they find themselves at home against a very beatable opponent.  It won't be as easy as it appears on paper but, as I’ve noted before, a win is a win.

Puskás barely scraped by for a single goal win against Diósgyor.  This week will find them on the opposite end of a one goal loss.  Puskás have been dreadful away from home and have lost their last five away matches.

Prediction: MTK 2-1 Puskás

Chris:  Last week MTK lost their first game after a four-match unbeaten run in the league.  The 2-0 defeat at Ferencváros showed a distinct lack of attacking movement and they’ll be looking to get back on the right track this week, though their home form isn’t great and they’re second bottom in scoring with only six scored at home thus far.

Puskás have been amazing at home, but away from home they are the direct opposite.  Five defeats and a draw with only six goals scored in their travels have kept them from rising out of the bottom third.  Don’t expect fireworks here.

Prediction: MTK 1-0 Puskás

Kisvárda vs Újpest

at Várkert Sportpálya, Kisvárda 

Paul: Kisvárda seem to have lost all the momentum gained when new coach László Dajka came on board early in the season.  The defense gave up three goals last week and things don’t look to get much better this week.  A month ago we might have a had a different result, but now a loss is inevitable. 

Any win regardless of the opposition can turn a team around.  Újpest certainly hopes that happens after a two goal win against lowly Haladás.  Injuries have hurt the club and it shows in their results.  Another match against lower table club comes at the right time for the club from Újpest.

Prediction: Kisvárda 0-2 Újpest

Chris: I almost hate to say it but Újpest looked really good last week.  They dominated against bottom of the table Haladás and, although the goals weren’t spectacular, they were efficient and took their chances.  With the possibility of Alassane Diallo and Krisztián Simon returning to the lineup this week they’ll be looking to keep their good form going. 

Kisvárda are without a win in five and have also not won at home in 3 games.  Lázsló Dajka’s side were picked apart by Honvéd last week.  They committed a number of errors in the back that led to a flattering scoreline for Honvéd.  Újpest haven’t keep a clean sheet away all season, but this might be their first. 

Prediction: Kisvárda 1-2 Újpest

Paks vs Honvéd

at Fehérvári úti Stadion, Paks 

Paul: Paks were humiliated at home last week against Vidi.  A four goal loss at home is a most rare occurrence for Paks.  I can guarantee they won’t give up four goals this week but their home field advantage will be tested.  I can’t see them losing again but a draw is the sensible choice. 

Honvéd found a way to finally score some goals against  Kisvárda while the defense held tight for a shutout.   They have won two matches in a row albeit against inferior competition.  They can take the three points here but have yet to show, in recent form, if they can.

Prediction: Paks 2-2 Honvéd

Chris: Paks suffered their first home defeat of the season against high-flying Vidi FC last week.  I think that was more Vidi playing well than Paks looking poor, however.  Paks are still a good team and even better at home most weeks.  With the temperature dropping and the pitch starting to show its usual wear and tear, this is the environment Paks are familiar with.  I’m backing the hosts to turn things around this week.

Honvéd had a great result last week with their highest goal output since August.  They’re still missing something, however, and I think they’ll come back down to earth at Paks who will be looking to avenge the 1-0 defeat in their first meeting with Kispest this season. 

Prediction: Paks 1-0 Honvéd

Haladás vs Ferencváros

at Szombathely Haladás Stadion, Szombathely

Paul: Remember last season when Haladás defeated Ferencváros to open their new stadium? Things have changed for the home club with a new manager and the loses piling up one after another.  With the top club in Hungary at the moment coming to Szombathely another loss is in the cards.   Will we at least see  a goal from Tamás Priskin?

The goals still aren’t coming in big numbers for Ferencváros but the wins are the main thing, right?  The club has performed better away from home under new manager Rebrov and that will most certainly continue in this match. 

Prediction: Haladás 0-2 Ferencváros

Chris: Haladás have yet to win a point since Ferenc Horváth’s appointment.  Six defeats in a row and four without scoring a goal means much frustration for the Szombathely side as they sit rock bottom in the table. It’s so difficult to see where goals are going to come from in this team.  There were encouraging signs a fortnight ago, but they were manhandled by Újpest last week.

Ferencváros kept the top spot in the league with a clinical win against MTK last week.  They have yet to lose away from home this season and shouldn’t have much trouble this week.

Prediction: Haladás 1-3 Ferencváros

Sunday, 11 November

Mezőkövesd vs MOL Vidi

at Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd

Paul:  Mezőkövesd has not lost at home since losing against Ferencváros by a single goal in what was Sergei Rebrov’s first match as manager.   If there is a time to beat Mol Vidi, then this would be the match.  They have not been particularly strong at home and will again lose to a club high up on the table. 

Mol Vidi find themselves once again playing two matches in a week.   They can do this when the extra match is in the Hungarian Cup but the Europa Liga is an entirely different beast.  Can they get a win in the NB1 after a tough European match?  The streak has to end sometime and it will in Mezőkövesd.  

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 1-2 Vidi

Chris:  Mezőkövesd experienced a late collapse last week against Debrecen to break a string of three consecutive home wins.  They’ve played very well and should be encouraged heading into this week’s game, however.  Gábor Molnár is in fine form and has been scoring like it’s going out of style.

Look for the inevitable ‘European hangover’ for Vidi this week.  They have yet to win a league match following a continental fixture so far this season.  With Pátkai out and a tired side to rotate, Marko Nikolic’s side will need everything they have in reserve to get a point out of Mezőkövesd. 

Prediction:  Mezőkövesd 2-2 Vidi

NB1 Round 13 preview

Welcome to our weekly preview and prediction column as Paul and Chris take a look under the hood of each of this week’s games in the NB1.  They give you their expert opinion on how things are shaping up as well as collect all the team info they can to give you a better picture of each side’s chances ahead of kickoff. 

Paul: Chris, congratulations on a good round 12 for you.   As you noted, now everyone team has faced each other so we have some statistics to work on now.  A total of 17 goals scored which is one of the highest scoring weeks thus far in recent memory.  A nice win in Greece for Vidi but they couldn’t continue their momentum in Hungary.  My gut feeling was wrong on Puskás but I shall push on nonetheless. Off we go to a lucky round 13....

Chris: Thanks Paul, but as you and I both know it is feast or famine with this league in terms of predictions.  There are some great matches this week as well as a couple of surprise suspensions thanks to the excellent work of the MLSz Disciplinary Committee.  Read on for a full preview of all the games. 

Saturday, 3 November

Kisvárda vs Honvéd

at Várkert Sportpálya, Kisvárda

Paul: Kisvárda played very well to secure a draw against a tired Vidi squad.  They are an up and down club, often capable of playing good football.  A second home match in a row will boost the club to play inspired football.  They will earn a draw for the second week in a row against top flight competition.

Honvéd narrowly defeated Haladás to earn a win in the final minutes of the match.  They are not playing too well at the moment, yet still find themselves in the second position.  Can the goal scoring come alive in this match?  I still see them struggling to score goals and will created many chances but fail to convert them.

Prediction: Kisvárda 1-1 Honvéd

Chris: Kisvárda won their cup match against third tier Gyöngyösi 4-0 this week with goals coming from András Gosztyonyi and Sergiu Negrut - two each.  It was a fairly easy hurdle even as they rotated the side that leveled Vidi on Sunday.  That result is sure to boost confidence.  They’ve also scored in each of their past 8 league matches.
Honvéd squeezed past Jászberény thanks to an early David N’Gog goal in their midweek cup match.  Attila Supka fully rotated his side.  Honvéd are still struggling in attack with only three goals in their last six games.  Luckily their defense has been just as stingy, allowing only three in that span as well.  They’ve only conceded two away from home thus far.

This is a difficult one to call but Honvéd have been finding a way and should be able to win again. They won 4-0 in their first meeting, but I can’t see a similar result occurring here.

Prediction: Kisvárda 1-2 Honvéd

Mezőkövesd vs Debrecen

at Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd

Paul: Mezőkövesd have won their last three home matches and are starting to develop a home presence.  Debrecen will present a challenge for them, of course.  This should be an up and down game between two clubs with very contrasting styles.  The home field advantage makes the difference in this competitive match

Debrecen find themselves in the fourth position after a solid home win.  They haven’t won away in five matches and that looks to continue here.  They will create  many chances but the solid defense of the home side will prove to be the difference in a close match.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-1 Debrecen

Chris:  Mezőkövesd played mostly reserves to defeat Ménfőcsanak 1-0 in the cup this week.  Márk Koszta scored the winner three minutes from time.  They’ve won their last three home games and drew Debrecen 1-1 in their first meeting this season.  Gábor Molnár has been outstanding since joining Mezo and I’d count on him continuing his fine form at home.

András Herczeg fielded a mostly second-choice side in Debrecen’s 3-0 cup win over Teskánd this week.  Debrecen almost mis-handled what should have been an easy win last week at home over Puskás but still managed to hold off the visitors to take all the points. 

Debrecen haven’t won away from home in the league this season and I think Mezőkövesd is too tough an opponent to to see that change this week.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-1 Debrecen

Paks vs MOL Vidi

at Fehérvári úti Stadion, Paks 

Paul: Paks have won their last four at home and have regained their home field dominance.  This will be a great challenge to them, but  they are unlucky to catch a well-rested Vidi club.  The chances will be there for goals but will not be converted to secure a home win.

The two match a week routine once again was too much for Vidi as they lost points against Kisvárda.  Vidi are a different team when they only play a one match versus two matches per week.  This will be a difficult match but they will find a way to scrape by with a win.

Prediction: Paks 1-2 Vidi

Chris: Paks played a rotated side that needed a number of first-team regulars as late substitutes for a come-from-behind 2-1 cup win over Csákvar this week.  Left back János Szabó played the entire game and looks set for a return to the first team.

Vidi rested some key players and beat the team that knocked them out of the cup last year, Vac, 3-1 this week.  This won’t be an easy game for the champions who struggled to hold off lowly Kisvárda last week.  Paks are undefeated at home this season but this will be their biggest test yet at Fehérvári úti.  One surprise for Vidi is that Stefan Scepovic and Anel Hadzic were handed suspensions by the Disciplinary Committee this week.  Scepovic and Hadzic’s suspensions are retroactive to their match against Puskás where there was an incident at the end of the game.  Referee Gergely Szots didn’t include the incident in his report but after further investigation the two were handed bans which means they’ll sit out this out week making Paks’ task that much easier. 

Prediction: Paks 2-2 Vidi

Puskás Akadémia vs Diósgyőr

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút 

Paul: Diósgyor gave a vote of confidence to their manager and are being very patient with a club that is uninspired and not very talented.  They are able to shore up the defense in this match and secure a win with a goal in the final quarter of the match.

Puskás are a very up and down club who are capable of anything good and bad. Once again in a recurring theme, another club lacking offensive firepower.  This match will feature many more cards than goals.

Prediction: Puskás 0-1 Diósgyőr

Chris: Puskás downed Dunaújváros 2-0 with a rotated squad in the cup this week.  They return home where they’ve won their last three games against top opponents.  A brave performance at Debrecen last week fell just short of a draw, but they should feel confident playing Diósgyőr who are on run of five consecutive defeats in the league.  This is a difficult time to be a DVTK supporter.  I feel for you … feel your pain.  It gets worse.  

Prediction: Puskás 2-0 Diósgyőr

Újpest vs Haladás

at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest

Paul: Újpest lost last week to MTK after winning their last two matches.  Where has the offense gone for the Lilak?  They are having big trouble scoring goals and this shows in their present league position.   A home match along with the opponent will secure a win and possibly get this club headed in the right direction.

I can’t remember the last time Haladás won.   Last week was a little better but they still are missing out on the few chances they create on the offensive end of the pitch.   Like the Lilak, they are lacking goals and offense.  The losing sadly continues once again 

Prediction: Újpest 3-1 Haladás

Chris: Újpest needed extra time to defeat Gyor in a pulsating midweek cup match.  It’s a good thing they are playing Haladás at home as Hali are on a run of five consecutive league defeats and couldn’t finish against Honvéd last week despite a number of gilt-edged chances including a penalty.  Újpest are still struggling in attack, but it’s difficult to look past them in this one.  

To answer your question Paul, the last time Hali won in the league was in mid-August at home against Puskás.  That was a long time ago. 

Prediction: Újpest 2-0 Haladás

Ferencváros vs MTK

at Groupama Aréna, Budapest

Paul:  Another Budapest Derby which happens  when there are four teams from the capital city.  Ferencváros will once again dispose of MTK in easy fashion at home.  Dániel Böde showed with his hat trick that he deserves more playing time and he is still a goal scorer.

MTK are up to the third position and appear to be the real deal, title contenders not title pretenders.  An away match will prove to be too much for the squad but they will be respectable and lose by only two goals.  

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-1 MTK

Chris:  Both Ferencváros and MTK made easy work of their midweek cup opponents, winning 4-0 and 5-0 respectively.  Ferencváros were back to winning ways after their demolition of Diosgyor, while MTK pulled off a smash-and-grab against Újpest in the league last week. It’s been 16 years since MTK won at Ferencváros, but they’ve draw their last two contests against them at Groupama.   

Ferencváros have not lost at home in the league for a year.  Sergei Rebrov looks to be working his system into the club and the players are responding well.  MTK done just what they set out to do at the start of the season by establishing a strong league position early.  István Bognár has been dangerous recently for MTK and their strong team confidence will make this one a close game. 

Prediction:  Ferencváros 3-2 MTK

NB1 Round 12 preview

Hungarian NB1 football is back as Paul and Chris preview the games of Round 12 this weekend.  The league is truly at the heartbeat of the season as each team has faced every other team once now as the second third of the campaign gets underway.  Read on for previews and predictions of each game. 

Paul: Chris, what a round 11 it was!  Some crazy results as always.  Only one draw last week with a total of 14 goals scored.  Round 11 once again showed that any team can be beaten on a given match day and that no result is certain.   All of this makes predicting very difficult but at the same time a great challenge for the two of us.  Let’s get to it.

Chris: Yeah, who would have thought Ferencváros would fall to Puskás by such an unlikely (but lovely) goal?  I’m immune to the capriciousness of this league and will continue to forge ahead in my prognostications despite the erratic inconsistency that prevails on a weekly basis.  Here we go!

Saturday, 27 October

MTK vs Újpest

at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest

Paul: Another derby match between two Budapest clubs.  MTK came on late to tie Honvéd in an otherwise uninspiring performance.  A bit surprising  to see Sándor Torghelle with another start up front for MTK.  I see him more of a 15-20 minute player and would prefer to see László Lencse start up front.  This should be another tough match and the most logical call is for a draw.

Újpest have now won two matches in a row and appear to be coming into form.  This will be a good battle for them.  They came on at the end last week  and were lucky to beat Diósgyor with two late second half goals.  They need to play better in this match to even earn the draw.

Prediction: MTK 1-1 Újpest

Chris: Újpest have to feel good, coming from behind to defeat DVTK away last week.  They only have two defeats all season, one of which came against MTK in their season opener at home.  No doubt they’ll be looking for a measure of revenge here.  The likely return of Dániel Nagy and Alassane Diallo to the side should be a boost for manager Nebojsa Vignjevic. 

MTK have defeated Lilák in their last two meetings and haven’t lost to them at home since 2014.  They are riding high on István Bognár’s recent form - the pesky forward has scored in each of their last 3 games and confidence is high when he’s playing with freedom.   Kanta picked up his fifth yellow card of the season last week, but there’s been no word of an official ban so he very well could play.  

Lilák will not win this game, but if they can get a sip of what Giorgi Beridze had at halftime last week they might be able to salvage a point across town.

Prediction: MTK 2-2 Újpest

Paks vs Mezőkövesd

at Fehérvári úti Stadion, Paks 

Paul: Paks had their three match unbeaten streak broken at Debrecen with a rare corner kick goal by their opponents.  Debrecen almost scored one earlier in the match so it was a complete lapse by their goalkeeper.  I see them bouncing back here at home with a win.

Mezőkövesd are up to the fourth position after two straight wins while  not losing in their last five matches.  This will be a tough, competitive match between two solid sides.  In the end, the firepower of Paks will be too much for Mezőkövesd to handle.

Prediction: Paks 2-1 Mezőkövesd

Chris: Paks have re-establish their home dominance this season, going unbeaten at Fehérvári út thus far with three wins and a draw.  This will probably be their toughest challenge yet, however, as Mezőkövesd are in stellar form and have lost only once away from home so far this season. 

It’s difficult to ignore Gábor Molnár’s influence in Mezo’s form and Attila Kuttor has his side playing a positive style of football, but Paks are smarting after losing it late against Debrecen last week.  Expect a reaction by the players and a boost from the home fans. 

Prediction: Paks 2-1 Mezőkövesd

Haladás vs Honvéd

at Szombathely Haladás, Szombathely 

Paul: Haladás have now lost four matches in a row and are at the bottom of the table.   Their home field advantage has quickly disappeared with their poor start to the season.  They are creating chances but have not been able to convert them.  They should be competitive here but loss #5 is in order.

Honvéd lost some points with their draw against MTK.  They played better most of the match but a late defensive lapse saw the loss of two valuable points.  They seem a bit confused up front and the goals are not coming much with only two goals  in their last five matches.  This will be a tougher match than expected but they narrowly pull out a victory.

Prediction: Haladás 1-2 Honvéd

Chris: Rock bottom in the league and without a win since taking over at the end of September, Haladás boss Ferenc Horváth is benching Hungarian legend GK Gábor Király to try and shake things up.  Hali have scored just twice in their last four games, and have averaged over 2 goals per game conceded in that span.  Playing at home used to be a positive for them but they’ve lost their last three league matches now at their new stadium.

Honvéd were unable to hold onto three points against MTK last week and their scoring woes continue as they’ve managed just two goals in their last five games.  Haladás should provide them with an opportunity to boost their confidence in the attacking third, but I still think the problem is more tactical than anything.   Either way Honvéd scrape it. 

Prediction: Haladás 0-1 Honvéd

Diósgyőr vs Ferencváros

at Diósgyőri Stadion, Miskolc

Paul: Diósgyor had the lead late last week and fell apart with some major defensive lapses.  They almost pulled off a nice upset against Újpest .  They catch a Ferencváros club at a bad time who are hungry for redemption after a surprise loss last week.  It should be a full house in their new stadium but that will not be enough to inspire the home club.

Ferencváros greatly missed Lanzafame last week and  it showed very little offense in their loss against Puskás.  He is the straw that stirs the drink so to say.  The return of Lanzafame will ignite the club to an easy win against a home side with both very little offense and a suspect defense 

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-3 Ferencváros

Chris: Whew!  Miskolc are dreadful and Fradi are pissed.  On paper this should be a massacre and it very rightly could be so.  With Heister and Lanzafame returning rested to the side after sitting out last week, Ferencváros (who lost their first game of the season last week) will have their strongest lineup against a reeling Diósgyőr.  I honestly can’t see another result here.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 0-3 Ferencváros

Debrecen vs Puskás Akadémia

at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Paul:  Debrecen were lucky to escape with a late win over Paks last week.  They played well and the chances were there.  On paper they should easily defeat Puskás but in a choice that can’t be fully explained, a draw will occur here.  In other words a “gut” feeling.

Puskás may have pulled off the upset of the year in defeating Ferencváros with a free kick goal from nearly 61 meters away.  I’ve never seen such a long distance goal outside of American Football.  They are developing into a very defensive team with the hope of counter attacking goals.  This is possible against Debrecen.  

Prediction: Debrecen 1-1 Puskás

Chris:  This is my lock this week.  Puskás have had some very impressive results at home so far this season including last week against NB1 frontrunners Ferencváros, but away from Pancho Arena they’ve lost four in a row.  Debrecen come into this one on an impressive run of three without defeat.  Their Adam Bódi-inspired win last week was a massive three points against a similar side and the return of captain Dániel Tozser was indeed a boost for them.  Loki are doing well despite injury problems and have used a bunch of players so far.  I see them continuing their unbeaten home form with another win here - Paul’s gut feeling be damned! :)

Prediction:  Debrecen 3-1 Puskás

Sunday, 28 October

Kisvárda vs MOL Vidi

at Várkert Sportpálya, Kisvárda

Paul: Kisvárda, after showing some improvement, have now lost their last three matches.  They need to push a tired Mol Vidi club if they have any chance of earning points here.  They are catching Mol Vidi at the right time and place but will it be enough?

Mol Vidi have had a tough time of it when playing two matches a week.   Do they have enough left in the tank to pick up a win here?  They have moved up to the third spot and a match like this is one where the three points is vital.  Finally, they will bounce back and win a match after playing in Europe after losing their last two in these situations.

Prediction: Kisvárda 0-2 Vidi

Chris:  After a brief uptick in form, Kisvárda have returned to their early season form and have conceded an average of three goals per game in their last three.  Vidi are coming off a massive win against Greek side PAOK in the Europa League, but the last time they played to that level midweek they fell hard in the league the following match.  If Marko Nikolic can manage his side’s fitness and bring in some rested players, Vidi have the chance to get a big win here.  The return of goalkeeper Adám Kovácsik was a noted improvement for Vidi last week and should be helpful against Kisvarda as well.

Prediction: Kisvárda 1-3 Vidi

NB1 Round 11 preview

Hungarian NB1 football returns this week!  Take a few minutes and get caught up with what’s going on in the league and take a peek into all of Saturday’s matches as Paul and Chris give you their previews and predictions for each game.

Paul: Chris, we are back after a one week break for international matches.  It was a mixed bag for the Hungarian National Team and I will leave it at that.    Let’s get back to the NB1 where anything is possible and nothing is predictable.  Nonetheless, Chris and I will attempt to skillfully predict each match, good, bad or indifferent.  This week all the matches will be played on Saturday and off we go…

Chris: Yeah, it was a frustrating break in terms of results but I think we can hold on to a shred of hope as Marco Rossi looks like he has a plan and it will take some time to undo what’s been done over the past year or so.  The domestic league, however, has turned into an exciting mix of surprises and disappointments.  It will be interesting to see what twists and turns round 11 will have for us.

Saturday, 20 October

Debrecen vs Paks

at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Paul: Debrecen gave Fradi all they could handle and almost left the Groupama Arena with a win.  Can they continue this type of effort at home or have a let down?  This should be an up and down match with two clubs that love to counter attack and play little defense.  This match can go any of three ways but a draw is the safe choice here.

Paks have not lost in their last five matches while winning four of them.  They are playing very good football at the moment.  They could easily come away from Debrecen with a win but the fact that Loki are playing well should make this an interesting match.  This could well be the most entertaining match of the week and one I will watch for sure.

Prediction: Debrecen 2-2 Paks

Chris: This should be a hard-fought game against two solid teams in good form.  Paks have been resilient and are showing a vastly improved attack as well as a tight defense.  It seems as if Tamas Balo has currently taken over starting left back role for Paks during János Szabó’s injury - the 34 year old has been a big part of their solid defense during their current three-match winning run.  Tamás Kecskés has also played a key role in the heart of their midfield, while leading scorer János Hahn has scored all five of his goals in the last six games.

Debrecen haven’t been as impressive, but their 2-2 draw at Groupama against high-flying Ferencváros was good result for them and they should get a boost with captain Dániel Tózser returning to the lineup.

It’s a long trip for Paks and Loki have their tails up.  It should be a close game and possible rainy conditions may affect the score a bit. 

Prediction: Debrecen 1-1 Paks

Diósgyőr vs Újpest

at Diósgyőri Stadion, Miskolc

Paul: Diósgyor have lost their last two matches and have not scored a goal  in either of those matches.  They have only earned a single point at home this season.  With that said, their hope is to stack the defense and hope for a counter attack and a 1-0 win.  The chances of that are very, very slim.

Újpest looked solid  in their victory over Puskás last week.  It was nice to see Soma Novothny score his first goal in league play this season.  For the Lilak, he will need to score goals for them to be successful.  Újpest have been excellent in defense this season and have only allowed two goals in their last five matches.  This match  will be an easy, comfortable win for them.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 0-2 Újpest

Chris:  Last season’s leading scorer Soma Novothny scored his first goal of the season last round, but Újpest are in a world of hurt with injuries to key players this week.  Benjamin Cseke hasn’t featured much this season but Alassane Diallo and Dominik Nagy have been the the most productive offensive players in a misfiring team.  With both Diallo and Nagy out perhaps Novothny will rise to the occasion again.

Rumors are swirling about the future of Diosgyor’s manager Fernando, and the news that young striker Gábor Makrai is out for an extended time won’t be welcome either.   That’s a tough blow for a team that has scored just three goals in their last five and one in their last three at home.

It will be tough to breakthrough for Lilák but I think they’ll edge a close one.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 0-1 Újpest

Kisvárda vs Mezőkövesd

at Várkert Sportpálya, Kisvárda 

Paul: After two straight wins, Kisvárda have two straight losses by a total of five goals.  The initial magic of a new manager appears to have worn off.  Their defense has been giving up goals in bunches.  This match can go any way but the logical choice is a close home loss.

Mezőkövesd are playing well and as a team which makes them a tough club for any team to play.  On paper this should be a victory.  Anything other than a win will be a loss for Mezőkövesd and lost points will add up at the end of the season.

Prediction: Kisvárda 1-2 Mezőkövesd

Chris: The only form of offense for Kisvárda has come off the foot of Zoltán Horváth in recent weeks.  Despite his consistent production, the team’s brief resurgence has been cut short over the last two rounds with heavy defeats at Debrecen and Paks.  They return home but will host a team that has won three of its last five league games and have taken a lot of teams by surprise this season.  

Mezőkövesd are playing like they can beat anyone this season, but they’ve yet to do so away from home so far.  They’ve seen the great recent form of central defender Róbert Pillar and defensive midfielder Patrik Mevoungou support Stefan Drazic’s attacking prowess up front.  They’ve been a fun team to watch this season as the whole team plays well together.  Look for these two to share the points. 

Prediction: Kisvárda 2-2 Mezőkövesd

MTK vs Honvéd

at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest

Paul: After being anti-MTK for most of the season, I am now a believer in the squad.  István Bognár is playing particularly and showing much creativity in the midfield .  They are a scrappy club and easily dispatched a tired Mol Vidi club.  While this is a home match, Honvéd also play their matches now on MTK’s ground.  This should be a hotly contested match with a late MTK winner on a penalty kick.

Honvéd haven’t been playing too well recently but Diósgyor is the squad to play for three points and reestablish confidence.   Look for Honvéd to have more fans at this “away” match which should make for a good atmosphere.  They will play MTK tough in what should be an offensive  match.

Prediction: MTK 3-2 Honvéd

Chris: With this derby between teams who share the same stadium this season it makes it trickier for MTK who “host” Honvéd - a team that is no stranger to the surroundings.  MTK looked great against a tired Vidi team last round as István Bognár has stepped up his game and has shown glimpses of the player we saw a couple of years ago. Andras Shäfer also looked tireless on the right wing.  Sándor Torghelle made a rare start, but will likely make way for László Lencse who is just behind Kanta in production for MTK.

Honvéd are still struggling in attack and their narrow 1-0 win over Kisvárda from a deflected Filip Holender shot didn’t do much to restore confidence in their ability in the attacking third.  Patrik Tischler scored a hat trick last week but don’t let that fool you as it was in a friendly match during the international break against NBII side Csákvár.  Scoring has been a big problem for Kispest and the slim result against lowly Diosgyor punctuated their need for a new approach.

Prediction:  MTK 2-1 Honvéd

Haladás vs MOL Vidi

at Szombathely Haladás Stadion, Szombathely

Paul: Haladás are a mess and have lost their last three matches and have only earned one point in their last five matches.  The week off was good for their new manager to have some extra practice time with the squad.  Will they rise to the occasions against the champion as many clubs have recently?

The week off was probably the most beneficial for a Mol Vidi squad that has played the most matches of any Hungarian squad.  This week they will get back to their usual form and a poor Haladás is the right team to play at the right time 

Prediction: Haladás 1-3 MOL Vidi

Chris: Vidi should be rested and ready to return to action after their horrible 3-0 defeat against MTK before the international break.  The ‘likely’ return of goalkeeper Ádám Kovácsik would be another boost to Marko Nikolic’s side.  

Haladás went shopping over the break and brought in a couple of depth players on free transfers.  Home or away they’ve been disappointing and a rested Vidi side shouldn’t have much trouble here.

Prediction: Haladás 0-2 MOL Vidi

Puskás Akadémia vs Ferencváros

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

Paul:  Puskás came back to earth in their last match against Újpest.  This week will be even more difficult against the league leaders.  In a surprisingly close match, they will lose in the later stages of the match.  Teams tend to get “up” when playing Fradi and things will be no different here.

Ferencváros were lucky to escape with a draw against Debrecen.  They played even better with a man down.  Lanzafame has found his form with his new club and is playing dazzling football.  Away matches have been difficult for Fradi and their pattern of fewer goals will continue with a difficult match at the Pancho Arena, one of the most beautiful football grounds in Hungary.  

Prediction: Puskás 1-2 Ferencváros

Chris:  Ferencváros haven’t lost in Felcsút in five years but they’ll be without a couple of key players this week with both starting LB Marcel Heister and league-leading goalscorer Davide Lanzafame both banned for this match.  Ferencváros have a deep lineup to choose from with Dániel Bode waiting in the wings to provide goals.  

Puskás will be without Csaba Spandler on the right side for what could be the rest of the season as he was injured on international duty.  They’ve won their last two at home against two top clubs in Honvéd and Vidi and will try to shut down Fradi at Pancho Aréna.  However, Ferencváros have won their last four away games without conceding and although this one might not be as impressive, I think they’ll still take all the points. 

Prediction:  Puskás 1-2 Ferencváros

NB1 round 10 preview

If there ever was a time to watch Hungarian football it’s now.  Champions MOL Vidi returned from London this week after playing Chelsea in the Europa League.  Vidi did their supporters proud with a heroic effort in a narrow 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.  This weekend should provide more drama as round 10 gets started with an early game on Saturday and finishes on Sunday evening.

Paul: Chris, round 9 went much to form except for the upset of Honvéd by Puskás  1-0.  It was an average goal scoring round with a total of 14 goals scored.   It was nice to see Hungarian fans come out in good numbers at over 20,000 for the derby between Ferencváros and Újpest.  It would be nice for at least a fifth of this to be the norm for Hungarian football.  The interest could be there if the level of football improves.  Here’s to improved football in round 10!

Chris: Yeah Paul, I’m stoked for this round with so many good match-ups in store.  Vidi’s galvanizing performance on Thursday reminds us that anything can happen in football … but it’s not like we need a reminder of that in the NB1, do we?  We’ve predicted a lot of similar scores here, but I’ll point out that I make my picks before seeing Paul’s.  The stars could be aligning this week.

Saturday, 6 October

Honvéd vs Diósgyőr

at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest

Paul: Honvéd have lost their last two matches but have won three of their last five home matches with their only losses coming against Ferencváros and Mol Vidi FC.  The squad has had a lot of player movement the last few weeks but once they are settled things should be fine in Kispest.  Diósgyor will be the right medicine to get Honvéd back in the win column.

Goals are hard to come by for Diósgyor who are on the opposite end  of the spectrum in having lost their last two matches.  Things don’t figure to change for the match this week either.  More defensive football and the hope of the odd counter attack goal is the best they can offer with this squad.

Prediction: Honvéd 2-0 Diósgyőr

Chris: Two teams in poor form square off in the capital.  Honvéd have cooled off considerably since their red-hot start and haven’t scored in their last three league matches.  Their inability to find dangerous areas in the attacking third last week against Puskás despite the talent they have might mean it’s more a tactical issue.  David N’Gog looked lost and Danilo and Patrik Tischler looked ineffective.

Diosgyor did well to hold Vidi to just one goal last week but looked lost going forward.  Fernando has so much to do to right the ship and I’m afraid his time might be running out.  This is a good game for Honvéd to find their scoring boots again.

Prediction: Honvéd 2-0 Diósgyőr

Mezőkövesd vs Haladás

at Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd

Paul: Mezőkövesd played well enough to defeat MTK last week but tied on a late penalty.  They have won their last two home matches after losing the prior two.   Look for this to continue and win number three in a row at home.

Haladás welcome their new manager, Ferenc Horváth, who was relegated to cheering from the stands in their last match due to a one match suspension.  They have lost four of their last five matches and hope a new manager will instill some confidence in a club lacking it.  This scored could be easily reversed if the squad rejuvenate under their new manager.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 3-1 Haladás

Chris:  Mezőkövesd have been very impressive but unlucky in their last two matches.  Haladás have only gotten one point in their five games away from home and look like the league whipping boys in recent weeks.  The frustration is clear in the team and it’s difficult to say what Horváth’s influence will be in the next few weeks.  Mezo have had success at home in the last two years against Haladás and they should have little trouble against them if they continue their recent form.  Tamás Cseri has been impressive and is one to watch for the hosts as well as Stefan Drazic who has scored 3 goals in his last three games.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 3-1 Haladás

Paks vs Kisvárda

at Fehérvári úti Stadion, Paks 

Paul: Paks are a team on the rise and now stand fifth in the table.  They are back home where they have won their last two matches.  Their good play should continue and result in a win against a Kisvárda squad with a uncertain form at the moment.

Kisvárda have improved their play as of late in winning their last two matches after drawing their last two.  They begin very well last week against Debrecen but then fell apart.  I see that form continuing this week as well.  This will be the highest scoring match of the week.

Prediction: Paks 4-2 Kisvárda

Chris: Kisvárda’s recent vein of good form came crashing down in Debrecen last week as they lost 3-1. Zoltán Horváth kept up his torrid pace in front of goal (bagging 2 goals and 3 assists in his last four games), but Kisvárda looked decidedly average at the back.  Now they travel to Paks who have been playing out of their minds.

Paks are unbeaten in their last six league matches and scoring goals.  This is a better version of Paks than we’ve seen in years and they will be bolstered by being back at home this week. Tamás Takacs is the one to watch for the hosts.

Prediction: Paks 2-1 Kisvárda

Újpest vs Puskás Akadémia

at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest

Paul: Újpest appeared to be intimidated by the large number of fans in the derby and played scared as noted by their manager.  They have yet to discover their good form of last season.  This match will be more difficult than expected.

Puskás has won their last two matches in defeating Mol Vidi and Honvéd.  They appear to be adjusting to the new tactics imposed by manager who admitted last week it was necessary to try something new.  I haven’t done an “upset of the week” in a while so this is it!

Prediction: Újpest 1-2 Puskás

Chris: Újpest are getting hammered in the press for their lack of ability going forward this season.  Last season’s leading scorer, Soma Novathny, has yet to score a goal in the league this term.  Not sure if it’s lack of confidence or something else, but manager Nebojsa Vignjevic is going to need to make some changes soon.  Problem is, like with any Duchatelet team, depth is shallow at the club.

Puskás have had an amazing turnaround since making major changes to their squad over the past few weeks.  With victories over champions Vidi and Honvéd in the last two rounds they will have some confidence going into this one.  Újpest haven’t beaten Puskás since 2015 and they won’t here. 

Prediction:  Újpest 1-1 Puskás

Ferencváros vs Debrecen

at Groupama Aréna, Budapest

Paul: Ferencváros have not scored as many goals since the arrival of their new manager.  That changes this week with an easy three goal home win against Loki.  The fruits of their labor will start showing in more comfortable wins in their future matches.  They are creating goal scoring chances but need to convert them.

Debrecen have been ravaged by injuries but played better in their match against Kisvárda last week.  It was impressive in that they plaed eight home grown players, a pattern I would like to see more of in Hungary.  Catching Fradi at home will be too much for one of the youngest clubs in NB1. 

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-0 Debrecen

Chris: Ferencváros have a great record of winning their next match after the derby.  They’ve won their last four follow up games after the big game over the past couple of years.  The league leaders have yet to lose a game this season and seem to be hitting on all cylinders.  This is a big game for them as Debrecen are coming off a massive win at home and can surprise the big teams.  Truth is, however, they’ve only won against bottom half teams this season and had only scored one goal in their last three before their win against Kisvárda last week.  If captain Dániel Tozsér returns to the lineup this week it should bolster them in the big atmosphere of Groupama.

Fradi tend to concede more at home than away but they should still do the job here.  

Prediction: Ferencváros 2-1 Debrecen

Sunday, 7 October

MOL Vidi vs MTK Budapest

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

Paul:  Vidi will be worn out after their match against Chelsea and this is affecting their play in the NB1.  They lack the depth for the two matches a week schedule even with an extra day of rest and playing matches on Sunday.

MTK were lucky to draw against Mezőkövesd in the last minutes of their match.  They catch the champions at a good time and earn a draw though a win would be the pick had they not been in their current poor form.  

Prediction: Vidi 1-1 MTK

Chris:  Vidi continue to get just what they need to stay in hunt for a championship run, but Ferencváros’ form isn’t helping them.  They’re coming off a huge game at Stamford Bridge in the Europa League where they held Chelsea to a slim 1-0 result, but they played their hearts out.  It’s hard to tell how they’ll respond in the league, but so far Marko Nikolic has done fairly well at rotating his squad and grinding out results.  

MTK are a veteran team with smart players who might be able to take advantage here.  I’m feeling a bit of a let-down in the home side will allow MTK to steal a point in Felcsút - especially if Kovácsik doesn’t return between the sticks for the hosts.

Prediction:  Vidi 2-2 MTK