NBI Round 26 Preview

It’s a very busy time in Hungarian football but what a busy week it has been!  Congratulations to Mezőkövesd and Honvéd who were victorious over two matches in under a week and will meet in the final of the Hungarian Cup on June 3rd.   MTK were a  hard luck squad who played very well but are out of the competition despite not giving up a single goal during regulation time!   Fans are allowed back to matches albeit with social distancing and precautions.   We hope everyone is safe during these difficult times.   Let us unite again and enjoy Hungarian football, the NBI!    ‘

So welcome back as Chris Barrett and Paul Treso take a quick look at the upcoming match-ups in Round 26.                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Zalaegerszeg-Kaposvár

Paul:  Is it too early to state that this is a must win match for Zalaegerszeg?  The three points are a must here if the newcomers hope to return to the NBI next season.  The loss of their fans will have an effect on the side for certain.   Now it is up to Zte to live up to expectations and show they are indeed a first division side.    Kaposvár have 10 points to show for the season and are playing for pride.   While they lack the talent to stay up, their effort can never be questioned.   They will play out the season and may prove to play a factor in the 2nd club to join them in NBII next season.

Prediction:  Zalaegerszeg 2-1 Kaposvár

Paks-Mol Fehérvár 

Paul:  Paks are another side who will miss their fans at home.   They are a very inconsistent side, yet have many talented players but consistently find themselves in the relegation zone.   They will be happy with a point in this match.   Fehérvár are out of the Cup and now must find a way to motivate themselves to hold onto the second spot in the league.   I agree with Tom Mortimer that firing Marko Nikolic will turn out to be a poor decision.  This side is lacking that magic of their championship seasons and it’s the players in my opinion.  I already miss Roland Juhász and it appears we may not see much of him the rest of the season.   I think this side will do just enough to hold onto the 2nd spot but just by a hair.

Prediction:   Paul: Paks 1-1 Mol Fehérvár 

        Chris:  Paks 1-2 Mol Fehérvár 

Diósgyőr-Mezőkövesd

Paul:  Diósgyőr have the 2nd largest fan support in Hungary and they will miss that support in their new stadium tremendously.  Can they hold onto the 5th spot in what has been a remarkable second half of the season?  Congratulations to Mezőkövesd on rightfully earning their first ever Hungarian Cup final.  They look to continue their march to Europe in what is normally a wild Northeastern Hungarian battle.   While the fans will be missed, this match should be a good battle between two sides who have surprised all season.  In an empty stadium, the home side will have to settle for a draw.

Prediction:  Paul:  Diósgyőr 1-1  Mezőkövesd 

          Chris:  Diósgyőr 1-1  Mezőkövesd 

Kisvárda-Újpest

Paul:   Both sides have unfortunately played themselves into the relegation zone.   Kisvárda looked great in putting five past Honvéd in a match that seems so long ago.  They have lost their top player in Grozav but in truth he hadn’t been playing much lately.  Újpest are truely a mystery and very inconsistent side.   They played Ferencváros well in spurts in the recent Derby but once again scoring goals continues to be  the problem.   I go back and forth on their relegation chances from minute to minute.  They will score a goal in this match but any other prediction is up in the air.

Prediction:   Paul:   Kisvárda 2-2 Újpest 

          Chris:  Kisvárda 2-1 Újpest 

Honvéd-Debrecen 

Paul:  Two matches and no goals but Honvéd found a way to make it to the Hungarian Cup final.  Go figure?  Their play has been sketchy but perhaps a suspect Debrecen defense will allow them to find their goal scoring shoes?  Debrecen have entered the relegation discussion which has to be a surprise with a club that really does have some talented players.   A great chance here for Loki to earn the “upset of the week.”

Prediction:  Paul:   Honvéd 1-2 Debrecen  

          Chris:  Honvéd 1-1 Debrecen  

Puskás Akadémia-Ferencváros          

Paul:  Puskás find themselves with a realistic chance for a European spot next season depending on the upcoming Hungarian Cup final.  Until then, their first match back won't be easy.  On the plus side,  they do play a Ferencváros side playing their 3rd match in eight days.  The empty stadium won’t bother the home side but your guess is as good as mine whether Puskás will show up to play.  It is hard to bet against Fradi who always seem to find a way to get their three points.   A draw is the easy choice here  though the easy choice seldom ever is a good one in Hungarian football.

Prediction:   Paul:   Puskás Akadémia 1-1 Ferencváros

  Chris:  Puskás Akadémia 1-0 Ferencváros


NBI Round 25 Preview

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                NB1 Round 25 Preview

Matches go on but without fans and rightly so. I hope all goes well for players, coaches and everyone health wise. Selfishly I’m happy the matches go on as many of us need our NBI fix. All matches available on TV. Check M4sport.hu which graciously shows ALL Hungarian first division matches every week. On a side note, impressive display by all Hungarian NBI sides for giving free admission to all woman for International Women’s Day! A classy move.

Ferencváros-Kaposvár

Paul: Ferencváros were fortunate to leave Zalaegerszeg with a draw. Fradi have shown that they are very beatable lately. In truth, all sides go through these periods. Their attack has been very quiet of late but a home match against Kaposvár should do the trick in reviving a sputtering offense. Just what the doctor ordered for Ferencváros.

Prediction: Ferencváros 4-0 Kaposvár

Újpest-Paks

Paul: Paks and Újpest both find themselves in the relegation zone and in a very important battle. Paks has lost their last two matches while Újpest has lost their last two home matches but in an empty stadium, the statistics are not much of a help this week in any match. Újpest are in a precarious situation and will be without arguably their best player, Donát Zsótér. Neither side will be pleased with a draw here.

Prediction: Újpest 1-1 Paks

Mezőkövesd-Puskás Akadémia

Paul: A big clash between two teams battling for the coveted third spot and a place in the Europa League. Currently, six points separate the two sides and a Mezőkövesd win would be huge. Puskás has not lost in their last five away matches and an empty Mezőkövesd stadium will be of no help to Mezőkövesd. With that said, once again a draw that aides the home side more than the away club.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-2 Puskás Akadémia

Honvéd-Kisvárda

Paul: Giuseppe Sannino is back roaming the sidelines after his clean bill of health. My favorite animated manager. Honvéd made it through to the quarterfinals of the Hungarian Cup which appears their best route to European football. Davide Lanzafame continues to “missing in action” and this has affected the whole team. Kisvárda sputtered and were outplayed in their match against Debrecen which continues this week in a similar style match.

Prediction: Honvéd 1-0 Kisvárda

Debrecen-Zalaegerszeg

Paul: Debrecen found some defense in their defeat of Kisvárda to break a three match losing streak. The empty stadium is of some concern as this young squad really feeds off the energy of their home crowd. Zalegerszeg was run over mid-week in their Hungarian Cup clash and now can focus on NBI survival. Against all I know and believe to be true, the “upset of the week.”

Prediction: Debrecen 1-2 Zalaegerszeg

Mol Fehérvár-Diósgyőr

Paul: Fehérvár looks like a new side with renewed life and vigor. The new winter additions have done well and the “Joan Carillo” effect is really showing off the last few weeks. Diósgyőr has won their last two matches and has not lost in their last five away matches. A few weeks ago, a draw would have been the pick but I will go with Fehérvár in a very difficult choice. I would not mind being wrong in this one as the play of both Diósgyőr and Mezőkövesd has been great for Hungarian football. Last week’s support of the fans in Miskolc was heart warming.

Prediction: Mol Fehérvár 2-1 Diósgyőr


NBI Round 23 Preview

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Welcome to HungarianFootball.com’s weekly preview of round 23.  My trusted partner and the brains of the team, Chris Barrett is on assignment this week.   I will do my best to tackle the column until round 24 when he returns. Round 22 was full of defensive blunders some of which helped to result in a total of 21 goals for the week.   Mezőkövesd was very impressive in their win over Ferencváros who made some uncharacteristic mistakes to show they can still be beaten at any time.   The predictions appear too easy this week which is always a concern in the pick game.

Kisvárda-Paks   

Paul: .  Kisvárda lost a two goal lead to draw against Diósgyőr.  They are still just 4 points above the relegation zone and these lost home points are keeping them in the zone.   Their new manager has brought a fun, attacking style to the side but their defense continues to let them down. They are ripe for a home loss...

Paks played and scored four goals in their win against Debrecen.  What I liked was the team chemistry I saw in the club. It was an up and down match the players are showing motivation and fight.  I see this continuing this week in an upset win for Paks. Just a gut feeling and the recent win one, lose one away pattern for the side...In short no Chris Barrett-like statistics to back it up just a feeling…

Prediction:  Kisvárda 1-2 Paks  

Mol Fehérvár-Kaposvár    

Paul:  Fehérvár had some of their old offensive power back last week with a good amount of it courtesy of Ivan Petryak.  Petryak has yet to regain his excellent form from his season at Ferencváros so maybe this will get him an Fehérvár moving in the right direction.  A home match against Kaposvár should help the offense click even more.

I do not know what to write about Kaposvár to tell you the truth.  They show up to every match ready to play and do their job.  They are professionals. They are now 15 points adfift of the 10th spot and I don’t know when they will win a match again.  I do know for sure they will come to play in every match.

Prediction:  Mol Fehérvár 3-0 Kaposvár 

Honvéd-Diósgyőr

Paul:   Honvéd will be without their manager Giuseppe Sannino but this time not due to cards but to exposure to the coronavirus.  They are battling a side just below them in the table so a win here would be vital. I will go with the home side here in a battle decided by a goal.

Diósgyőr has not lost in their last five away matches (2 draws, and 3 wins) but they still have the Budapest curse.  I don’t see them giving up bunches of goals here but they battle the home side and lose through a late Lanzafame goal.   Honestly, I would love to see a Diósgyőr win but don’t see it.

Prediction:  Honvéd 2-1 Diósgyőr

Újpest-Puskás Akadémia

Paul:  Újpest did not look very impressive at all in their single goal win at Kaposvár .  They did get the three points. Their home record has not been good which makes any home match for the Lilak an adventure. I am stuck  and will pick the safe choice of a draw though an away win by Puskás would not be a suprise in the least.

Puskás are falling further behind Mezőkövesd in the race for third place.  These are the kinds of matches they need to win if they wish to earn that coveted top 3 spot.  I see this as being a sloppy match where the home side should be overjoyed at earning a point.

Prediction:  Újpest- 1-1 Puskás Akadémia

Mezőkövesd-Zalaegerszeg

Paul:  Mezőkövesd sure came to play against Ferencváros.  They came out very strong against the top side in Hungary and dealt the knockout blow early in the first half of the match.  Atilla Kuttor has his side playing very well and their winter additions have proven to be a great benefit to the side as well.   Perhaps a litlte let down here but a win nonetheless by a single goal, which is the Mezőkövesd way.

Zalaegerszeg were soundly defeated  by three goals to Fehérvár.   They had some defensive lapes that made the score a bit more than it should have been but a loss is a loss.  I can’t see them getting any points here at all but a good, solid performance would be a start after the match last week.

Prediction:  Mezőkövesd 2-1 Zalaegerszeg

Ferencváros-Debrecen 

Paul:  Ferencváros had a major let down against Mezőkövesd with two of their three allowed goals coming from defensive lapses.  No excuses from Rebrov and they should rebound nicely here with a full squad. This should be a case of playing a weak defensive side like Debrecen at the right time.   Business as usual for Fradi.

Debrecen have lost two matches in a row and their shaky defense had been exposed once again.  The situation should not get any easier in Budapest. At this point, who knows what can be done to shore up the defense as it fell completely apart against Paks in yielding four goals allbeit two in the final moments of the match.

Prediction:  Ferencváros 3-1 Debrecen 

  

 

 

 


NBI Round 18 Preview

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Hello NBI fans! I am writing this without my trusted partner, Chris Barrett who is on assignment. Chris is surely the the brains of the partnership and I debated on whether to write this without him. The show must go on sans the photos, the gloss, the statistics, and the professionalism provided by Chris. He will be back next week and you can expect the usual high standards of the NBI prediction column. For better or for worse, read on as we enter round 18 which brings us into a very busy early schedule of Hungarian football in 2020. Once again, thank you CHRIS for all that you do in bringing the NB! alive to those of us who love the NBI!

Kisvárda-Ferencváros

Paul:   Kisvárda find themselves once again in familiar relegation territory.  They did battle Mezőkövesd last week despite being a man down the entire second half.  New goalkeeper Dávid Dombó looked sharp and figures to be very busy in this match.  I can see Kisvárda sitting back on defense and hoping for a counter attack goal.   I’m not sure they have the defense to make this work but I am sure manager, László Dajka has some tricks up his sleeve.

Ferencváros looked very good in defeating Paks last week.  Of course the question is are Paks that bad or Ferencváros that good?  I was pleased to see the nucleus of the club kept intact during the Winter Break. The attack of Fradi looked very good and the team has great chemistry in their attack. Kenny Otigba made a successful return to the starting 11 and looked solid.   He can be a key contributor to both Ferencváros and maybe even the National Team? Four straight away wins for Fradi plus one here makes it five in a row.

Prediction: Kisvárda 0-2 Ferencváros

Paks-Zalaegerszeg

Paul:  Paks were embarrassed in their four goal loss to Ferencváros.  Dániel Böde was very critical of the team but that criticism should apply to him too. He has not been productive at all which is stating it very nicely.   An important early relegation battle between two sides desperate for point(s). I have a soft spot for both sides but while my heart says Zalaegerszeg, my brain predicts an ugly Paks victory.

To say I was very disappointed in Zalaegerszeg would be an understatement. I know Chris and I see both like this side and are hoping they can stay up in the NBI. So much potential on paper but still no results. Zte better get it going very soon or else they will find their stay in the NBI very short.  Shhh, I would pick Zalaegerszeg but whenever I do they lose so I am using reverse psychology.  Let's see it it work?

Prediction:  Paks 1-0 Zalaegerszeg 

Honvéd-Mezőkövesd

Paul:   The best match of the week in my opinion.  Honvéd seem able to adjust their style to fit their opponent.   In a gritty, scoreless draw against Fehérvár, they were able to be the defensive side whereas int he past defense had been an achilles heel.   This match could be more of the same as these two sides may end up battling each other for a Europa League spot(s).  Honvéd have not lost in their last five home matches and a rare draw will happen in this NBI match.

Welcome back Richárd Guzmics!  What an great addition for Mezőkövesd.  Yes it is only one match, but he had an assist and came close to nearly scoring a goal.  My hope for him is to continue his play and perhaps earn a spot back in time to help the National Team qualify for Euro 2020.  Yes, I am a dreamer. In reality, Mezőkövesd have a decent away record with draws and low scoring matches a common occurrence. Score another draw.

Prediction:  Honvéd 1-1 Mezőkövesd

Diósgyőr-Kaposvár    

Paul:  Diósgyőr played offensive, attacking football!  Yes, I had to make sure I was watching the correct match in their impressive away win against Zalaegerszeg.  Tamás Feczkó has done wonders with this side in changing their philosphy and footballing style.  I may be jumping on the bandwagon afrer only one match. At home, Diósgyőr in front of their passionate fans will make it two wins in a row.

Kaposvár played a decent match last week and can be compete here with the return of striker, Martin Ádám.  They will come to play but once again come up short as the inevitable relegation inches closer with each passing round.  Five straight road defeats and the losses continue for a side that is just not at NBI level.

Prediction:  Diósgyőr 2-0 Kaposvár 

Puskás Akadémia-Debrecen

Paul:   Puskás have been far from impressive in the confines of their little, lovely Pancho Arena.  They have lost three of their last four home matches which is hardly the recipe for a side seeking European football.   As evidence in their match against Kaposvár ,  Puskás are still trying to find their starting 11 which is a difficult task with so many players on the move in and out of the club.  Chemistry is a concern.

The question is similar to the one posed above, are Debrecen this improved or Újpest this bad?  More likely the former than the latter.   Regardless a nice, solid way to begin 2020.  They have been poor on the road in losing at least four of their last five away matches.   I can’t see that changing even against an opponent in search of chemistry.

Prediction: Puskás Akadémia 2-1 Debrecen

Újpest-Mol Fehérvár

Paul:  Last week was disappointing to say the least for the Lilak.  They are one of the most popular clubs in Hungary and have such a storied past that I feel for their loyal fans. Nebojša Vignjević will continue to work hard in manage the club and give it his all.  One has to believe he has one hand tied behind his back as a manager which makes his job that much more difficult.   With both sides in terrible form, there is no result that would surprise me here including an Újpest victory.  Yes, I am a crazy predictor but even my mania has it’s limits.

Your guess is as good as mine as to what Fehérvár has planned this season.  New manager Joan Carillo has a great pedigree, but this season it appears as the club is in transition from just a few seasons ago when they looked so good in Europe.  Perhaps they realize that a Cup run and a Europa League spot are a good start in this semi-rebuilding process. Fehérvár are fortunate to be playing Újpest and perhaps that rejuvinate this club.

Prediction:  Újpest 0-2 Mol Fehérvár