NBI – Round 3 preview

Welcome to HungarianFootball.com’s weekly preview where Chris Barrett and Paul Treso take a look at each game and give their predictions throughout the season. Read on for all the latest news for each contest this week.

Paul:  Chris, we are back to all twelve clubs playing their matches but unfortunately all on Saturday.  I like it where the matches were spread over two days. 17 goals were scored in the five matches and three of the five matches were won by away clubs.  So the madness of Hungarian football has begun! Let us begin and try to unravel what is the mystery of NBI football.

Chris: This will short because I’m on vacation for the only time this year, but you said it Paul! Madness ensues will a full slate of games this week and it’ll be nice to see Ferencváros start their season after being obliterated by GNK Dinamo on Tuesday. There are a lot of exciting matchups this week so let’s get to the games!

Saturday, 17 August

Debrecen vs Zalaegerszeg

Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Chris: Debrecen came out of the blocks like a lightning bolt last week with a 4-1 win over Kisvárda.  They looked solid in their victory and will play at home for a second straight game to start the season.  Winger Ádám Bódi looks set for an extended absence after the club has sent him to get ankle surgery. 

Zalaegerszeg’s game against Ferencváros was postponed last week but they scheduled a friendly against UAE side Al-Ain and Miroslav Grumic was the goalscorer in a 1-0 win.  They played very well in an opening round defeat at Mezőkövesd and showed they aren’t going to be pushovers in this league.  Grumic is one to watch as he stood out in their game against Mezőkövesd as well.

Prediction: Debrecen 2-1 ZTE

Paul:  Debrecen looked very impressive in their dismantling Kisvárda.  They proved to be very impressive in set pieces despite the absence of skilled midfielder, Ádám Bódi.  Debrecen are home again and they will have no trouble in their match against the newcomers to the NBI.

Zalaegerszeg like Debrecen had their match against Ferencváros postponed due to the Champions League.  They hope the extra week off will do wonders as it did Debrecen last week. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening. They are still a mystery team and while it is nice to have them back in the NBI, it will be very difficult for them to avoid relegation.

Prediction: Debrecen 3-0 ZTE

Ferencváros vs Kaposvár

Groupama Aréna, Budapest

Chris: Ferencváros will finally play their opening match of the season against newly promoted Kaposvár at Groupama Aréna.  Fradi are coming off a comprehensive defeat at the hands of Dinamo Zagreb in Champions League qualifying and are gearing up for Sūduva in the Playoff Round of the Europa League.  However, manager Sergei Rebrov has assembled a squad that should be deep enough to challenge on multiple fronts.  However, they’ll be without last season’s leading scorer Davide Lanzafame who has shifted back to Honvéd, leaving room for Franck Boli and Nikolai Signevich to battle it out. 

Kaposvár were handed their second straight defeat to start the season last week as Mezőkövesd beat them in their home opener.  The killer instinct of Martin Ádám in the first week was nullified against the smothering defense of Mezőkövesd.

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-0 Kaposvár

Paul:   Ferencváros are back to playing NBI matches after exiting the Champions League.  It is now up to the manager, Sergei Rebrov, to get his players back on track and focused.  They have a deep squad that can handle playing two matches a week. A home match against the other NBI newcomers will pose little to no challenge for them.

Kaposvár were competitive in losing by a goal to Mezőkövesd.   In fact it was a goal keeper error that resulted in the first goal Mezőkövesd.  It should be interesting how they react to playing the top club in the NBI. They may be catching a frustrated Fradi side at the wrong time at the wrong place.  I see a flurry of Fradi goals.

Prediction:  Ferencváros 5-1 Kaposvár

Mezőkövesd vs Puskás Akadémia

Varosi Stadion, Mezőkövesd

Chris: Mezőkövesd have made a perfect start to their NBI campaign with wins over the two promoted teams so far.  New signing Aliaksandr Karnitski has shown a lot of promise in midfield as well as Tamás Cseri who looked very good last week and has been a consistent catalyst in their attack.   

After a comprehensive win over Újpest two weeks ago, Puskás fell to a disappointing defeat in Székesfehérvár in round two.  Puskás were arguably the better team against Fehérvár and really deserved a better result. This should be a very competitive game

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-2 Puskás

Paul:  Mezőkövesd have won their first two matches and appear to be a solid club. Tamás Cseri scored a lovely goal against Kaposvár in what was possibly the goal of the week.  They do have an impressive midfield which is a strength of the club. This will be an entertaining match and possibly the match of the week. I just can’t see them winning their first three matches in a row.

How many solid chances did Puskás waste in their home match against Fehérvár.  One the plus side they created a good many chances. Fehérvár manager, Marko Nikolić, was so impressed with Puskás that he predicted they will finish the season as a top four club in the NBI.  Puskás will right the ship this week and show that they are a squad to be reckoned with this season.

Prediction:   Mezőkövesd 1-2 Puskás

Honvéd vs Kisvárda

Uj Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest

Chris: Honvéd got the best news they could have received this week when striker David Lanzafame finalized a move from Ferencváros across town to Kispest.  This transfer solves their biggest problem which was having a real danger man up front – now they have the best striker in the league.   They’re still far from being out of the woods, however as they still have a lot of injuries in midfield and will miss out on defender Bence Batik who is suspended after his red card last week. 

After opening the season with a win at home against Paks, Kisvárda came crashing down to earth with a humbling defeat at Debrecen. Márk Kovácsréti and Gheorghe Grovav have been standout, early-season performers thus far and they should be able to penetrate a Honvéd defense that has already leaked five goals in two games.  Kisvárda’s defense will be tested by Lanzafame, however, and it’s likely he’ll want to make a statement in his first game back.

Prediction: Honvéd 2-1 Kisvárda 

Paul:  Davide Lanzafame is back on loan from Ferencváros.  I sure hope his return will revitalize the squad after their first two losses.  They really do need a shot in the arm. At the very least it will be entertaining to see Lanzafame back at Honvéd where he was the center of focus, a role which he relishes.

Kisvárda were pummeled in their match against Debrecen.   They play another away match but against a club is major disarray.  They may just be the cure for a struggling Honvéd who can use a win in a big way.

Prediction:  Honvéd 2-1 Kisvárda

MOL Fehérvár vs Diósgyőr

Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Chris: Fehérvár beat Puskás last week but the result was not indicative of the how the teams played.  Fehérvár’s defense was beaten again and again but were rescued by goalkeeper Ádám Kovácsik on numerous occasions.  It’s not been a stellar start to the season for last season’s runners-up in terms of performance but they’ve still managed to remain unbeaten nonetheless.

Diósgyőr are not the team of the last couple of seasons and should prove to be a bit more competitive throughout this season. Daniel Prosser and Matyas Taijti are playing  well and Fernando still has Haris Tabakovic waiting in the wings to bring even more attacking talent to his side. Also, midfielder Joachim Adukor has been an inspiring addition to the club.  Even so, I think it’ll be a tall order for Miskloc to steal points in Székesfehérvár

Prediction: Fehérvár 2-1 Diósgyőr

Paul: Fehérvár has quickly put their European debacle to rest and are ready to focus on the NBI.  Márkó Futács has had a promising start to the season with three goals.  Perhaps he is the answer at striker for this club?  Fehérvár appear to be ready and focused now on challenging for the championship.  On a side note, it’s a bit odd to see Szabolcs Huszti with a shaved head.

Diósgyőr is on the road after looking very lackluster in their match against Újpest.   Their are clearly lacking a consistent finishing striker. They have given Fehérvár tough matches in the past but here the goals will be flowing for the wrong side.   When will Haris Tabakovic return to Hungarian football?

Prediction:  Fehérvár 4-1 Diósgyőr

Újpest vs Paks

Rudolf Illovszky Stadion, Budapest

Chris: Újpest grabbed all three points in Miskolc last week to erase the memory of their first round defeat to Puskás a fortnight ago.  Obinna Nwobodo scored a sensational goal from outside the area for the winner, but it’s evident that Lilák are still missing a central attacking threat inside the box.  It was a completely different performance from Újpest who seemed to match the passion of their manager last week.  It’ll be interesting to see if that will carry over into this week’s game. 

Paks bounced back from a loss to Kisvárda with a good win over Honvéd in their home opener last week.  Janos Hahn trounced Kispest with two goals to kickstart his season and make a bid for top striker while Attila Osvath redeemed himself with a solid defensive performance in his second start with the club.  Dániel Böde only played the last few minutes last week but should be back in the starting lineup against Újpest.

Prediction: Újpest 1-0 Paks

Paul: I must say that I really admire Nebojša Vignjević, the manager of Újpest.  He looked like he should be in a hospital bed but he was on the sidelines with passion and fire.  He even shoved one of his players back onto the pitch as they were arguing with the referee. Újpest need to  show the personality of their manager on the pitch to be successful. There is still time to sign a quality striker or two.

Paks looked very good in their home  match against Honvéd. Balázs Balogh was solid in his Paks debut with two assists along with Mohamed Remili .  Hopefully Dániel Böde will be match fit and back in the starting eleven.  They played with three strikers at home and I am curious to see what formation they will play here.   Paks would be thrilled to leave Budapest with a draw.

Prediction:  Újpest 1-1 Paks