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