NBI Round 5 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 match this week.

Paul:  Chris, round 4 proved to be quite interesting with the most exciting match for me the one  between Debrecen and Honvéd.  A total of 21 goals were scored with all the other matches determined by two goals or more.   Four of the six matches were won by away clubs in a surprising turn of events. Chris, is it too soon to start analyzing home vs. away results?  The transfer period ends on Saturday, August 31st so players may still move before the midnight deadline. For now, I hope to see more competitive matches than last week please.

Chris: Interesting is a good word for last week. I’m getting tired of picking just 50% of the results correctly. Hopefully this week the stars will align for me and all of my hard work will pay off. 🙂 Congratulations to Ferencváros for reaching the group stage of the Europa League this week!

Saturday, 31 August

Mezőkövesd vs Paks

Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd

Chris: Tamás Cseri is on fire with three goals in his last three games.  Last season, the Mezőkövesd playmaker scored just four over 29 league games, but without Stefan Drazic in the lineup this term he’s stepped up.  Another key addition this season has been the stellar work of defensive midfielder Aleksandr Karnitskiy, and let’s not forget the sensational goalkeeping of Péter Szappanos who has only conceded one goal in their first four.

 Paks dumped four players this week as Tomislav Sivic finalizes his squad for the season.  It looks as if former Fradi backup goalkeeper Ádám Holczer has won the #1 job over last season’s starter Gergo Nagy.  Benjámin Cseke, Róbert Kővári, and Dávid Bobál were released this week while Benjámin Cseke was sent on loan to MTK.  Despite Dániel Böde’s arrival, Paks have floundered in attack with János Hahn’s two-goal effort against struggling Kispest in round 2 the highlight performance so far.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-1 Paks

Paul:  The opening schedule could not have made better for Mezőkövesd and they have taken advantage by opening with four straight wins.   They are still to play a top club but should make it five wins in a row here. Attila Kuttor has built a very good club that could turn out to be the surprise team of the season.   Dániel Nagy has proved to be a great addition to the squad while Tamás Cseri has been playing at a level that deserves a Hungarian National team call up.  

Paks had plenty of chances in their match last week against  Fehérvár but were unable to score against a great keeper.  They will find the defense of Mezőkövesd to be a bit too much for them.  Paks will fall victim to a club that is playing great football and  who have held opponents scoreless in all but one match this season.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-0 Paks

MOL Fehévár vs Kisvárda

MOL Aréna Sóstó, Székesfehérvár

Chris: Fehérvár are the only other team with four wins besides Mezőkövesd and they look to be getting better each week.  Márkó Futács splendid five-goal haul through four games has been like cool water in a dry desert for Marko Nikolic’s side.  Enough so that Fehérvár allowed last season’s leading scorer Marko Scepovic leave for Turkey.  Futács is becoming the type of player the club hoped he’d become when they acquired him for the second half of last season, but the former Leicester City forward scored just twice in 13 games in the spring.  Goalkeeper Ádám Kovácsik looks to have his edge back as he’s been outstanding when called upon thus far. 

Kisvárda have nine points in their first four games.  Remember last season?  They didn’t reach nine points until late October (12 games in), coincidentally against MOL Vidi.  Felipe is back between the sticks and he’s looking confident as ever, leading Vasile Miriuta’s side to back-to-back victories over Honvéd and Újpest the last two rounds.  Let’s also not fail to mention the other five-goal scorer in the league, Gheorghe Grozav, who scored as many in 14 games last spring.  The prolific Romanian is worth the price of admission and is a legit danger-man who can create something from nothing.  Buckle your seatbelts for this one.

Prediction: Fehérvár 3-2 Kisvárda

Paul:   Fehérvár have quickly put their early Europa League exit behind them and are off to a great start to the season.  Marko Scsepovics is leaving the club in the final season of his contract and the club was wise to let him go and receive some compensation at the same time.  They have found their man in Márkó Futács.   The defense is still not at last season’s level but they were saved last week by the brilliant performance of their goalkeeper, Ádám Kovácsik.  They will win a wild match in what could be the match of the week.

Kisvárda are off to a great start to the season by winning three of their first four matches.  Gheorghe Grozav is playing out of his mind and we have to think he will be leaving NBI in the winter to greener pastures.   At least we have until then to enjoy is brilliant play. His goal scoring continue here as he provides all sorts of problems for the home team.

Prediction:  Fehérvár 3-1 Kisvárda

Újpest vs Honvéd

Illovszky Rudolf Stadion, Budapest

Chris: In the first Budapest derby of the season we see two teams without homes playing in a rented NBII ground.  Imagine the atmosphere.  It’s nothing against Vasas’ brand new home, but more about two perennial podium-chasers who have failed to launch so far this season.  Újpest are coming off a disappointing defeat at the hands of Kisvárda and are dealing with injuries to Litauszki, Koszta, and Obinna.  Nebojsa Vignjevic welcomed a clutch of players including the familiar face of defender Jonathan Heris.  Róbert Feczesin’s signing is a homecoming as the 33 year-old former Hungarian international came up through Újpest’s youth team in the early 2000’s and returns from Adanspor in Turkey’s second-tier where he scored 5 goal in 25 games last season.   

Honvéd manager Guiseppe Sannino’s safety rope is unraveling and his acquisition of experienced NBI goalkeeper Tujvel this week might be the final piece to turn this project around. Despite another defeat last week, Kispest actually looked like the better team for most of the game against Debrecen and if not for a couple of goalkeeping errors they might have gotten a deserved result.   I imagine Davide Lanzafame will be playing with a chip on his shoulder hearing his former boss’ post-match comments after Ferencváros secured their Europa League group stage spot this week against Sūduva..

Prediction: Újpest 1-2 Honvéd

Paul:  We have a Budapest derby this week between two clubs trying to find themselves.  Újpest are in search of offensive attack  and hope the arrival of Róbert Feczesin will solve their striker situation.   That remains to be seen…

I was happy to see somewhat of a revival in Honvéd despite their close loss to Debrecen.   Daniel Lanzafame looked great in scoring two goals and the rest of the squad is improving and following his example.   Can I call this an “upset of the week” as Honvéd earn their first victory of the new season?

Prediction:   Újpest 2-3 Honvéd

Zalaegerszeg vs Puksás Akadémia

ZTE Aréna, Zalaegerszeg

Chris: I have to admit that Zalaegerszeg have been fun to watch so far this season.  The NBII champs have proven that they’re not going down lightly (if at all) this season and they are playing their first home game of the season this week.  A defense led by Zoran Lesjak and the solid Szilárd Devecseri whose 30 yard guided missile was a joy to behold last week.  Gergo Kocsis’ performances in midfield have not gone unnoticed and manager Barna Dobos even managed to unveil the monstrous Eduvie Ikoba last week – the American striker scored within five minutes of coming on against Kaposvár.  Oh, and by the way, Zoltan Stieber has been cleared to play this week.  The former DC United and Hungarian international has never played a game in the NBI. 

Puskás have to be delighted with such a comprehensive win over a second-choice Ferencváros side last week.  They exploded for four goals after scoring none in their last two – exploiting the flanks of Rebrov’s 3-4-3 approach last week.  I’m still not convinced of their quality to dominate. Perhaps they’ll prove me wrong this week, but until they do I’m going to stick to my skepticism.

Prediction: ZTE 1-1 Puskás 

Paul:  Zalaegerszeg finally play their first home match of the season.  They look better and better each week and finally earned their first win of the season against Kaposvár.  I am curious to see if Zoltán Stieber gets a few minutes of action in front of the home fans.  Zalaegerszeg will continue their improving form with a nice home victory.

Puskás are proving to be a team of multiple personalities.  They have the ability to look brilliant at times and then they take two steps backwards the following week.   Consistency is what the squad is lacking so far in the season. After a nice win over Ferencváros last week, they come back down to earth.

Prediction:  ZTE 1-0 Puskás

Debrecen vs Kaposvár 

Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Chris: Debrecen are playing an exciting brand of football, scoring ten goals in their first three games so far.  Kevin Varga has had a phenomenal start to the season and his performance last week against Honvéd was his best so far.  Returning to Nagyerdei Stadion for their third home game of the season already they should fancy their chances against a Kaposvár side that has shipped 11 goals in their first four.

Kaposvár will be without the suspended Krisztián Nagy and likely the injured Andrii Yakymiv who left injured after 39 minutes last week. They are still without a win and have only scored one goal in their last three games. .

Prediction: Debrecen 3-1 Kaposvár

Paul: Debrecen are off to a fine start to begin the season.   After a difficult victory against Honvéd,  they are back home to the friendly confines of Nagyerdei Stadion.  This sets up very nicely for them to get their fourth straight victory while top player Ádám Bódi heals from his ankle injury.  The goals will still come in a variety of ways for the home squad this weekend. Debrecen are truly a team as they have had seven different goal scorers so far in the new season.

Kaposvár caught a bad break with some questionable decisions that turned the course of their match into a four goal route against Zalaegerszeg.  I do commend them on fighting until the end in a match that was closer than the score indicated. What they lack in talent, they do attempt to make up in desire and fight.  So far the results are not promising and a fifth straight loss looms on the horizon.

Prediction:  Debrecen 3-0 Kaposvár

Sunday, 1 September

Ferencváros vs Diósgyőr

Groupama Aréna, Budapest

Chris: Ferencváros didn’t make it easy but they did what they set out to do and will play in the Europa League group stage this year after a gritty, come-from-behind performance against Suduva this week.  It’s likely Rebrov will rotate heavily this week after such an intense match but at least they don’t have to travel and should rebound with a win this week after a disappointing outcome in Felcsút last week. 

Fernando knows what he’s up against this week, and after a 3-0 home defeat last week against Mezőkövesd he’s looking at heading into the international break on a four-game losing streak.   They really missed the suspended Brkovic in their back line last week and will gladly welcome his presence back into their lineup.

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-1 Diósgyőr

Paul: Congratulations to Ferencváros for making the group stage of the Europa League.  They have some time until the next round begins so now they must focus and earn some victories in the NBI.  Fradi should be able to field a combination A/B squad and come up with a home victory for their enthusiastic fans.   On a side note, it was great to see Stefan Spirovski back playing for the first time since November.

After an opening round victory, Diósgyőr has lost three matches in a row.   They look lost and come to Budapest at the wrong time.  In truth, tt must be noted that they have a terrible record in Budapest and often leave Hungary’s capital city after giving up a boat load of goals.  I am not sure if that happens here but I will choose a number between one and five goals for the home squad.

Prediction:  Ferencváros 3-1 Diósgyőr