NBI Round 6 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, welcome back after a weeks break  due to Euro 2020 qualification matches. Round 5 saw Debrecen and Mezőkövesd fall from the unbeaten ranks with boths clubs losing home matches in upsets.   A total of only 14 goals were scored with four sides going scoreless. In watching the matches I am struck by the lack of the finishing touch in the NBI. I am often reminded of unfinished homes in my city where the plans have been made, the homes have been framed but lay in wait to be finished.  It is amazing how many excellent scoring chances are not converted. Regardless, I am anxious to return to NBI football matches to brighten my Saturday.

Chris: Even though the frustration of goals continues in NBI there have actually been six more goals scored this season with two less matches in comparison to this stage of the season a year ago. I think we’re all a bit ready for domestic matches to start again to rinse the poor taste of Hungary’s defeat at the hands of Slovakia in Euro qualifiers. Enough said about that … on to the previews!

Saturday, 14 September

Diósgyőr vs Zalaegerszeg

Diósgyőri Stadion, Miskolc

Chris: Fernando was sacked almost immediately after DVTK’s feeble effort against Ferencváros in round 5.  Former MTK boss Tamás Feczkó came in and made some quick changes after Fernando’s departure, sending  Patrik Ternován, Zsolt Óvári, Martin Juhar, Yannick Ndzoumou, Branko Mikhailovich and Neljän Osuman all to train with the reserves.  He also picked up Rui Pedro who impressed at Haladás last season on loan from Ferencváros.  Defensive midfielder Bence Iszlai – who was recently released by Atilla Kuttor at Mezőkövesd – and proven Croatian top flight forward Mirko Ivanovski are also good additions in a busy week in Borsod.

 ZTE had another impressive performance in round 5 against Puskás in which they had as much a right to claim the three points as their visitors did but settled for a draw.  Zoltan Stieber made his ZTE (and NBI debut) in the second half against Puskás and looked good.  Reports suggest he’ll be starting against Diósgyőr this week in what should be a hard-fought match against a team that has been overhauled in the last two weeks.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 2-1 ZTE

Paul:  Adios to Fernando.  He did an amazing job keeping Diósgyor up last season but in truth he was never given the players to really succeed.  Somehow he was not able to bring in Spanish players who had had great success at the club in the past.  Welcome back to Tamás Feczkó to first division football. I think he is a good choice and will be a new vision to the club.   Finally kudos to Diósgyor for not signing Attila Pintér.  

Zalaegerszeg should have done better than a draw in their first home match of the season.  Their finishing let them down which was the theme of the week for the NBI. Zoltán Stieber came on late and showed that he will be an important addition to the club.   Zalaegerszeg make their longest trip of the season as I believe no other two clubs are farther away from each other in the league.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 2-1 ZTE

Honvéd vs MOL Fehérvár

Uj Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest

Chris: Honvéd entered the international break on a high note with their first win of the season, a 3-2 decision over Újpest.  Unfortunately, however, it took a toll on the team as Patrick Ikenne-King re-injured his achilles tendon and is out for an extended period of time.  Davide Lanzafame is also out after minor surgery to remove cartilage on his knee will keep him sidelined for a month.  Some good news to report is that globe-trotting midfielder Krisztián Vadócz is back after a stint in Hong Kong with Kitchee.  The 42-times capped Hungarian NT player will bring leadership and experience to the side at a time when they need it.  

Davide Lanzafame begins recovery from knee surgery.

Marko Nikolic’s side seem to be moving from strength to strength these days.  The addition of Chelsea prospect Danilo Pantic on loan from the PL giants will be a welcome one to a team with high ambitions this season.  This is a high-profile signing for Fehérvár and he should be available to slip right into the side this week.  They also added Hungarian forward Levente Szabó who was on the 2015 Primavera champion Atalanta side and has featured regularly in Hungary’s youth NT setups.  There’s not much to suggest Fehérvár will end their perfect start to the season. 

Prediction: Honvéd 1-3 Fehérvar

Paul:   Honvéd was much improved last match and looked spectacular at times.   Davide Lanzafame played well but more importantly brought out the best in his teammates.   Unfortunately, Lanzafame had minor surgery over the break and will miss this match. This will have quite an impact and we will see the pre-Lanzafame Honvéd.  Krisztián Vadócz returns to the clubs once again from Asia.   I am not sure if he plays but Honvéd is doing everything but sign a striker to improve the club.

What can I say?  I still hold a grudge against Fehérvár for their Europa League play but have to admit they are playing excellent football at the moment.   Their offense is finding a multitude of ways to score and the defense is coming along. With Attila Fiola out, I’d really like to see Adrian Rus play but it appears Visar Musliu is his replacement.

Prediction:  Honvéd 0-3 Fehérvar

Kisvárda vs Mezőkövesd

Várkerti Stadion, Kisvárda

Chris: Kisvárda return home after defeat in Székesfehérvár and it was the first time they were kept off the score sheet this season.  It will be interesting to see how manager Vasile Miriută’s side responds at home where they’ve yet to concede a goal in two games.  Defender Theodoros Berios and midfielder Hugo Seco are question marks ahead of this game as both are working to return from injury, but will face late fitness tests.   

Mezőkövesd fell at home to Paks last round, ending their perfect start but they’ll be looking to rebound away from home where they have a perfect record so far.  Ironically, though, the last time they lost away from home was against Kisvárda at the end of last season.   Mezőkövesd are a much-improved team this season with the additions of midfielder Aliaksandr Karnitski and defender Andrii Nesterov (who missed out last round), as well a resurgent Tamás Cseri who has been delightful to watch thus far.  Look for a tough match where both sides will take a point.

Prediction: Kisvárda 1-1 Mezőkövesd

Paul:  Kisvárda were fortunate to lose by only three goals against Fehérvár and it could have been much worse except for the play of keeper Felipe.   They are unbeaten at home in two scoreless wins. I am starting to believe manager, Vasile Miriută  who stated at the start of the season that his side are still ultimately a relegation zone club.

What happened to  Mezőkövesd last week?   They had everything set up for their fifth consecutive win of the season.   Mezőkövesd showed that making that big step into the top five isn’t easy but I still believe they are ready for that step.   Mezőkövesd will bounce back this week and take a valuable three points away from Kisvárda.

Prediction:   Kisvárda 1-2 Mezőkövesd

Puksás Akadémia vs Kaposvár

Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

Chris: Since he scored twice against Újpest to open the season, Puskás striker Ezekiel Henty has been one of the most talked-about, non-producing forwards in the game.  It’s not as if he hasn’t had the chances either.  There’s no doubt the 26 year-old has the talent but it’s always been about his mindset which currently can be described as frustrated.  Puskás are by no means a one man attack, however, as their leading scorer in the past two seasons – Josip Knezevic – is coming into form and now new-signing David Vanacek is off the mark with a goal in their draw against ZTE last round.  Manager Zsolt Hornyak has them playing some energetic football, but they need the stars to align each week to make it happen on the score sheet.  It happened against Újpest and against Fradi as they collected seven goals between them, but only once in their other three games combined.  Be on the lookout for the “Horny Boys” 😉

Kaposvár ended their run of defeats to start the season with an improbable win at Debrecen before the break.  It was quite a result for them as Loki had been undefeated entering that game and dominated but just couldn’t find a way past a stubborn defense.  They’ll find it tough to repeat that kind of performance against a Puskás sides that’s on the edge of a breakout each week.

Prediction: Puskás 2-1 Kaposvár 

Paul:  Puskás were lucky to leave Zalaegerszeg with a point.  Now they play the other new side to the NBI.   I still believe Puskás will ultimately finish as a top 5 club and once they really get things going watch out.  This could be the match that sends them on a winning streak.

Kaposvár’s wild green uniforms brought them good luck as they secured their first win of the season at Debrecen.  It was nice to see a solid performance from goalkeeper, Krisztián Pogacsics, after his rough start to the season. Martin Ádám continues to  show that he is a competent first division striker while providing  the club with valuable leadership. I can’t see a clean sheet here and the goals Debrecen missed will come in abundance in this match.

Prediction:  Puskás 3-1 Kaposvár

Újpest vs Debrecen 

Illovszky Rudolf Stadion, Budapest

Chris: Robert Feczesin made a positive start in his first game back for Újpest with goal in the first five minutes but they went on to lose their second consecutive match 3-2 to Honvéd.  Some supporters are boycotting the games after Lilák’s stuttering start and have been calling for the dismissal of Nebojsa Vignjevic – the league’s longest tenured manager.  If they ever need a win this would be the week.  The two week break has been kind to them and it’s likely to have repaired some of their injured players including captain Robert Litauszki who started in a 4-3 friendly defeat against Vasas last week.  It’s getting more and more difficult to think that Újpest can count on goalkeeper Filip Pajovic as the season progresses and the lack of a consistent backline has exposed his weaknesses.

Debrecen fought long and hard to overcome an early goal by Kaposvár last round but nothing fell their way and then ended up staring down the barrel of their first league defeat this season to the newly-promoted side.  Usually a trip to Újpest would provide a bit more concern but, with all of Lilák’s struggles both on and off the pitch, this could be a good time to steal some points away from home.

Prediction: Újpest 1-3 Debrecen

Paul: Welcome home to Róbert Feczesin who scored a goal and looked very good in his return to his former club.  The once mighty  Újpest defense have been decimated by injuries and looks very vulnerable and disorganized at the moment.   I hope things start to look up as I would hate to see Nebojša Vignjević sacked. With the home crowd behind them, the Lilak will come through in my “upset of the week.”

Debrecen did everything well in their match against Kaposvár but score.  On the positive side Loki created a great number of chances but were held to a scoreless defeat.   Manager, András Herczeg, had to be scratching his head or pulling out his hair after that match. I would have been but my current hairstyle prohibits me from the latter.  I don’t see things improving this round against a motivated home side.

Prediction:  Újpest 2-1 Debrecen

Paks vs Ferencváros

Paksi Stadion, Paks

Chris: Paks made a statement win in Mezőkövesd before the international break, winning in classic style with Janos Hahn scoring twice more to double his tally on the season.  Now with Ferencváros coming to visit, and the drama of Dániel Böde facing his old club, this should be an interesting one to watch.  Böde has yet to score since returning to Paks and Fradi have won without conceding in their last two trips to Fehérvári úti. 

Ferencváros supporters are likely to swell Paksi Stadion bringing an energetic atmosphere to the round’s finale.  With the start of the Europa League right around the corner the excitement is building around the club.  The adjustment to fixture congestion begins and it will soon be evident if Fradi can compete on multiple fronts.  According to manager Sergei Rebrov, the league will be the priority but that will only be evident in his team selection.  With Isael out for three weeks because of his horrible (even though unintentional) challenge on Diosgyor’s András Vagi, and Gergo Lovrencsic’s injury it will likely mean starting spots for Roland Varga and Endre Botka again but the rest of the team is up for debate ahead of kickoff.

Prediction: Paks 1-1 Ferencváros

Paul: Paks played well in handing Mezőkövesd their first loss of the season.  They have a deep squad with several quality players on the bench.  János Hahn is playing very well and it is amazing that at the tender age of 24, he has already played in 150 NBI matches!  I am anxious to see Dániel Böde playing against his former club.  It could be the most interesting match of the week.   This will be my “upset…, no no no… I can’t do it, but came close to calling it 🙂

Ferencváros had some time to rest the squad  but for a few players who had national team duty.   Unfortunately, Gergő Lovrencsics was injured but hopefully will fully match fit at the very least when the Europa League matches begin.  I am anxious to see Franck Boli play again to see if he can carry on his good play in Europe in the NBI. This will be a good battle but the real Ferencváros will come to play once again.

Prediction:  Paks 0-2 Ferencváros