NBI round 4 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 had a total of 19 goals scored in round 3 which was the first round of the NBI season to feature all twelve sides in action.  Home sides were back to dominance with only Kisvárda scoring an away win. Round 4 should be full of surprises and as we know anything can and will happen.  Let us move on to the madness of what is the Hungarian first division.

Chris: Who would have thought that Mezőkövesd would be undefeated along with Fehérvár at the top of the league with Honvéd flat on their face in the basement? I’m also quite impressed with ZTE so far as they have played some good football despite two defeats and now have brought in Zoltán Stieber to the league. Things just keep getting better and better in this league.

Saturday, 24 August

Diósgyőr vs Mezőkövesd

Diósgyőri Stadion, Miskolc

Chris: Diósgyőr scored first against Fehérvár last week but after Dusan Brkovic was sent off they were buried under an avalanche of goals, eventually losing 5-1 – their biggest defeat since a 7-0 loss against Ferencváros in March.  With center back Brkovic unavailable after his red card last week Fernando will give Yannick Ndzoumou his debut.  How can I be so sure?  Because Fernando unveiled his lineup after accusing Mezőkövesd of spying on his training sessions this week. 

Mezőkövesd have made a perfect start to the season their defense has been solid.  Tamás Cseri’s goal last week was his second in two games and the addition of Tamás Tákacs to their attack only gives them more depth.  Tákacs scored six goals for Loki last season.  Attila Kuttor’s side weren’t dominant by any stretch against Puskás last week but still managed a win after they neutralized Henty and Vanacek.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-2 Mezőkövesd

Paul:  Diósgyőr was happy to leave Székesfehérvár after surrendering five goals to the home side.  They will look to put that embarrassing loss behind them with a derby against their Eastern Hungarian rivals.  The stadium should be full as Mezőkövesd fans should travel for this match.  This will be a defensive battle with very little offense on either side.

Mezőkövesd have made a believer of me after opening the season with three wins.  They are proving to be a tough defensive side as each victory so far has been by a goal.  Attila Kuttor, who was born in Miskolc,  has molded the club in his image as he was a gritty defensive player in his day.  Miskolc is a very difficult place to play and a draw would be a good result here.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-1 Mezőkövesd

Honvéd vs Debrecen

Uj Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest

Chris: Alarm bells are going off at Honvéd after three straight defeats to start the season.  Last week’s defeat against Kisvárda came without suspended Bence Batik in defense and horrible season debut by goalkeeper András Horváth. Giuseppe Sannino has his man now in Davide Lanzafame, and some injured midfielders are returning to the side.  Änis Ben-Hatira’s late appearance last week was encouraging as he will bring a level of quality and competitiveness to the side, but Sannino’s insistence to keep Moutari Amadou on the bench has me perplexed. 

Debrecen look very capable in the scoring department but they have looked a little vulnerable at the back.  Their high-octane offense against Honvéd’s shaky backline and goalkeeper situation should provide them with some opportunities, but this will be their first game away from home and (quite possibly) their first test of the season with Lanzafame looking to inspire.

Prediction: Honvéd 2-2 Debrecen

Paul:   Honvéd have started the season with three loses.  One has to think that should this continue (and I believe it will) Giuseppe Sannino will be the first manager fired this season.  Despite adding Daniel Lanzafame for his third go around, Honvéd may be in for a long season. There still is some time to add some quality players to the squad before the transfer deadline.

The first away match for Debrecen after opening the season with two home victories.  Debrecen is proving to be a very good attacking team but must shore up the defense as they very challenged in narrowly defeating  Zalaegerszeg. Sandor Nagy continues to be a stalwart in the Debrecen goal. They catch Honvéd at the right time and they will leave Budapest with a win further adding to the woes of Honvéd.

Prediction:  Honvéd 1-2 Debrecen

Kaposvár vs Zalaegeszeg

Rákóczi Stadion, Kaposvár

Chris: Kaposvár are finding life in NBI difficult after losing their first three games.  Last week’s 1-0 defeat against Ferencváros should have been much worse as the champions ran rampant and failed to take advantage of numerous scoring opportunities against last season’s runners-up in NBII.   

ZTE have lost each of their first two games of the season, but their performances in both games have been outstanding for a newly-promoted club and they easily could have gotten in a result in either.  With 26-times capped Zoltán Stieber coming into the team they inject quality into their attack. ZTE lost to Kaposvár both times last season but they seem to have adjusted to the top flight better with the additions of Krisztián Tamás and András Radó.

Prediction: Kaposvár 1-2 ZTE

Paul:  A battle of the two new clubs in NB1.   At least one side will leave Kaposvár will a point on the positive side.  Kaposvár gave the Ferencváros “B” squad a difficult match and at home no club will have an easy time in any match in Kaposvár.   With that said, I will go with the home side for their first win of the new season

Zalaegerszeg plays their third straight away match of the season.   Very unfair for any club, let alone a new side to the NBI. They gave Debrecen a very tough match and should have come away with a draw.  They could easily win this match but the home side will be very motivated. Perhaps the most goals of the week in this match.

Prediction:   Kaposvár 4-2 Zalaegerszeg

Kisvárda vs Újpest

Várkert Stadion, Kisvárda

Chris: Kisvárda are looking like a dangerous team.  Felipe returned between the sticks last week and Gheorghe Grozav continues to look like one of the more dangerous attacking players in the league.  They return home after spanking Kispest last week in Budapest with some momentum behind them.  Defender Anton Kravchenko will miss out again due to injury, but Cornel Ene replaced him in style by scoring the first goal against Honvéd. 

Újpest are struggling a bit despite collected four points after three games.  Last week’s draw against Paks could have been a win if not for a goalkeeping error by Filip Pajovic.  With captain Robert Litauszki injured, Nebojsa Vignjevic will have another problem on his hands. Lilák are operating without a proper striker and it’s been source of frustration.

Prediction: Kisvárda 2-1 Újpest 

Paul:  Kisvárda erupted for three away goals last week against Honvéd.  Of course, Újpest does not have the swiss cheese defense of Honvéd so three goals once again would be a surprise.  Kisvárda should have no relegation concerns  this season and should join the Lilak as a mid-table club.

Újpest are looking as bruised as their passionate manager Nebojša Vignjević.   Last week, they were fortunate to earn a draw against Paks.   Their only win so far has been away at Miskolc. I do not see their second win coming away at Kisvárda.  They are currently in the sixth spot in the league and a mid-table finish looks about right..

Prediction:  Kisvárda 2-1 Újpest

Paks vs MOL Fehérvár 

Fehérvári úti stadion, Paks

Chris: Paks earned a draw against Újpest with a freak goal and they dispatched Honvéd two weeks ago.  Now back at home they will take on Fehérvár who are coming off a big win against ten-man Diósgyőr last week.  Paks haven’t seen what they expected out of Daniel Böde just yet and this will be a game they’ll need him to throw his weight around against the likes of Roland Juhász.

Fehérvár have scored a remarkable 11 goals in three games this season.  Armin Hodzic and Márcó Futács lead the league with four goals each – two of which Hodzic scored as a second half substitute last week.  It’s been quite a start to the season for Marko Nikolic’s side, but there are still some cracks in concentration that playing against ten-man Diósgyőr glossed over but were evident against Puskás in round 2.

Prediction: Paks 1-1 Fehérvár

Paul: Paks won their only home match so far against Honvéd which so far is not a big achievement.  This will be a big match for them as they can make a statement that Paks will once again a difficult place for away clubs to play.   I believe they make this statement this week in my “upset of the week.”

Fehérvár looked very good in scoring five goals at home and quickly disposed of  Diósgyőr.  They are off to a promising start to the season but this will find themselves in a battle in this match.  The Fehérvár back four appear to be stabilizing and rounding into form.  I am really liking what I am seeing from Márkó Futács so far and perhaps he will be the answer to their striker problems.

Prediction:  Paks 3-2 Fehérvár

Sunday, 25 August

Puskás Akadémia vs Ferencváros

Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

Chris: Just as I suspected, the fast start by Puskás was a flash in the pan as they have yet to score after their three-goal outburst against Újpest to start the season.  Puskás’ front line of Ezekiel Henty and David Vanacek have been smothered and frustrated in the last couple of weeks, rendering them ineffective.  They’ve actually out-worked both Fehérvár and Mezőkövesd in their previous two defeats but weren’t able to finish their chances. 

After a frustrating goalless draw in Lithuania, Ferencváros will likely rotate again ahead of their second leg Europa League match next week.  A largely second-choice Fradi side managed to get past Kaposvár but the 1-0 score line didn’t reflect the champions’ dominance. They’ve had problems finding the back of the net in their last three games.

Prediction: Puskás 1-2 Ferencváros

Paul: Puskás have lost their lost two matches and have not scored any goals in those matches.  Their goal drought will continue here against a Fradi side while not as offensive as last season still have a strong defense.  After impressing me in their first match of the season, I may have been a bit too optimistic about the side from Felcsút

Ferencváros did not look very good in their mid-week Europa League match.  They should field their “B” side to make sure their players are fresh for their HUGE match next week.  They have had problems with Puskás in the past but should do just enough to secure a one goal win.

Prediction:  Puskás 0-1 Ferencváros