NBI – Round 17 Preview

This week hungarianfootball.com contributors Paul Treso and Chris Barrett will each give their perspective on Match Day 17. Paul is the fun, colorful type with flair for the dramatic while Chris is the calculating, stat freak who teeters on the boring and predictable. A match made in Sopron if there ever was one.

Paul: This is a new feature where one can think of Chris and I playing in a dueling piano bar. Except the games are already there, we pick them  and maybe someone will sing along.  In Hungarian terms, dueling violins.  It will be a sight to behold as I can’t play but I can sing a few Hungarian songs. Not sure of Chris, but I would not put anything past him….

Chris: A lot gets past me these days as I edge toward my fifties so I’ll try to keep things simple. I don’t know any Hungarian songs and I don’t have the wit to match an entertainer so I won’t even try to keep up. As we approach the winter break Vidi and Fradi are a class apart with both on 35 points and tangled at the top of the NB1 table; their closest pursuers are 10 points adrift. With one less European spot to fight for this season there will be less pie at the dessert table but more tension as the campaign trods on.  To the games!

Saturday, 25 November

Balmazújváros vs Puskás Akadémia
at Városi Sportpálya, Balmazújváros

Paul: Balmazújváros play the way their coach, Ferenc Horváth played. That is a good thing. Every point is vital for them in NB1 survival and they give maximum effort.
PMFC, like their coach, is an enigma but their play is improving every week with a core of good players. Pinter seems to have found his sweet spot in NB1. This game can be a tie or a win by either side – toughest pick of them all this week.
Prediction: 1-1 draw

Chris: Balmaz have vaulted out of the danger zone with a recent run of fine form (DWLWW in their last five). Bachana Arabuli has been impressive with 2 goals and an assist in that run. Despite their recent run of good results they are having a problem keeping goals out – conceding just under 2 goals per game on average and only one clean sheet all season.
Puskás returned to winning ways last week after a run of six without a victory. They defeated Ferenc Horváth’s side in their first meeting back in August but Balmazújváros are the in-form team this time and should shade it at home.
Prediction: Balmazújváros 2-1 Puskás Akadémia

Honvéd vs Mezokövesd
at Bozsik Josef Stadion, Budapest

Paul: Does Honvéd miss Marco Rossi? That’s a big IGEN (yes), but Hemingway is frugal and not a football man. Their loss is DAC’s gain. Mezokövesd had a fun game with Vasas last week and weren’t the defensive team that new coach Attila Kuttor was as a player – the more goals the merrier.
I don’t see much defense happening here. Even Márton Eppel should score at this level of play, but hopefully the new NT coach will keep him far, far away from the National Team.
Prediction: Honvéd 3-2 Mezokövesd

Chris: After consecutive wins, Honvéd fell to an inspired Újpest in front of 17 people at an uninhabited Szusza Ferenc last week. The champions are ten points off the pace and have shipped almost 3x as many goals at home than at this stage last season. Davide Lanzafame has stepped up with four goals and an assist in his last three league games.
Mezokövesd is winless in fourteen and sit rock bottom in the league, however their three goals against Vasas last week equaled their offensive output in their previous five.
Look for Kispest to rebound after a tough defeat last week and goalkeeper David Gróf has something to prove.
Prediction: Honvéd 3-0 Mezokövesd

Diósgyor vs Újpest (TV: M4 Sport)
at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Paul: If this game was in the new Miskolc Arena this would be an easy choice, but it’s in Debrecen which is about a 113km drive by car and who knows how much longer by bus! Diósgyor’s fans are among the best in Hungary and their coach is already among the best in country as well.
Újpest came out of a good game and are in better form between the two clubs right now. This is another tough one to call, but that’s pretty normal in Hungary.
Prediction: 2-2 draw

Chris: With two wins on the bounce, Nebojsa Vignjevic’s Újpest have risen to 5th place and are looking better. They’ve only lost once in their last seven and will hope to build on that this week. The Serbian boss has been linked with his former club (Vojvodina) in recent weeks but those rumors have been scuttled by the club’s official website.
Diósgyor have lost their last two against two of the bottom three clubs, scoring just once. It’s been a disappointing couple of weeks for Tamás Bódog’s side and they’ll be looking to right the ship against a team they drew 1-1 in Budapest back in August.
Prediction: Diósgyor 2-1 Újpest

Vasas vs Debrecen
at Szusza Ferenc Stadium, Budapest

Paul: Many expected these two teams to be in reverse positions at this point of the season with DVSC struggling to stay in NB1 and Vasas near the top. Both have excellent coaches as evidenced by the success of each team.
I’m not sure Vasas has recovered from the Europa League tie against Beitar Jerusalem, however, as they have struggled in mid-table. Is it too easy to pick the same result for Vasas as last week? Yes, it is so.
Look for an offensive, skill-filled match with the game ending honors even.
Prediction: 3-3

Chris: Vasas are without a win in their last four and have only collected five points in their last six games. Felix Burmeister’s goal against Mezokövesd last week ended a span of 240 minutes of goalless football for last season’s Cinderella team.
Debrecen are coming off two difficult games against the top two teams, losing to Ferencváros and then Videoton in the last two match days. Prior to that they had been on an impressive run going unbeaten in nine with seven victories. Vasas will be a sight for sore eyes for Loki after defeated them 4-1 earlier this season.
Prediction: Vasas 1-2 Debrecen

Videoton vs Paks
at Pancho Arena, Felcsút

Paul: Even my mother noticed Vidi’s ugly, mustard-colored uniforms. What’s with that? Sometimes just watching Danko blow up temper or skill-wise is worth the watch.
At first I didn’t understand Paks’ Hungarian players only rule but now I get it and respect it. They are the little team I always root for in games.
This game could be a goal-fest, but in the Hungarian cold? Probably not.
Prediction: Videoton 3-1 Paks

Chris: Videoton have scored 9 goals in their last two games and have the second best home defensive record in the league, conceding just 6 goals in eight games at Pancho Aréna this season. Forward Marco Scepovic is coming off a hat trick in their 5-2 demolition of Debrecen last week as last year’s runners-up have picked up 30 of a possible 39 points in their last 13 games.
Paks lost to Fradi last week at home as they remain locked in a battle of an ever-growing number of mid-table teams. They have scored the second highest amount of away goals this season which is encouraging, but Videoton had their number in September defeating them 4-1 at Fehérvári úti.
Prediction: Videoton 3-1 Paks

Haladás vs Ferencváros (TV: M4 Sport)
at Haladás Sportkomplexum, Szombathely

Paul: It’s the clichéd battle of the green teams, but this time in a new arena. It better be a full house, but I’m afraid – despite a new stadium and a new coach – it’s the same old Haladás.
It should be a game for a good while at 1-1 but then Fradi will score two late goals and send the fans home bitter (but in larger numbers) from their beautiful new stadium.
Prediction: Haladás 1-3 Ferencváros

Chris: What a tumultuous season for poor Haladás. Already on their third manager and slipping into the relegation zone, they need something good to happen. The celebration of their new home in Sombathely will be a pleasant distraction but they need more than a new arena to stem an awful run of seven games without a victory (5 defeats). With only four goals scored in that run and David Williams playing sparingly and ineffectively it’s a wonder where the goals will come from.
With all the stick Ferencváros have gotten this season they are now now nine games unbeaten with 8 wins and have conceded just once in their last four games. Roland Varga leads the league in scoring (13 goals) and Joseph Paintsil has been an inspired acquisition – picking up 5 goals and 2 assists in just nine games so far.
Fradi have lost only once all season and that was against joint-leaders Videoton. They are turning up to spoil the party here and they’ll do just that.
Prediction: Haladás 0-2 Ferencváros