NBI Round 7 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, we are back after yet another break.  I’m not quite sure why we needed one after a break two weeks ago but who am I to argue with the MLSZ? The Hungarian Cup season started so perhaps that was the reason?   The MLSZ needs to realize that the clubs have to get accustomed to playing two games a week if they are to build any stamina and sustain it should they reach the European group stages.   We had a total of 16 goals scored in round 6 so in that respect it was a normal NBI week. Off to round 7 we go after we both predicted perfect scores for round 6.5 (Zalaegerszeg 1-2 Ferencváros).

Chris: This should be an interesting week as each NBI team is coming off a victory in the Magyar Kupa (some easier than others), and most have had a chance to heal some injuries and refocus their squad as the fall season hits its stride. Fehérvár’s perfect record will be put to the test by visiting Újpest, and Zalaegerzeg are due a result after a number of good performances without reward. Let’s dive into this week’s feast of football.

Saturday, 28 September

Debrecen vs Puskás Akadémia

Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen (15:00)

Chris: Consecutive narrow defeats for Debrecen in their last two games have put an abrupt end to their encouraging start to the season.  We’ve seen both sides of this team and I’m guessing the real Debrecen is somewhere in the middle.  One thing we can probably count on is goals as their free-flowing and quick attack led by Kevin Varga is always dangerous – especially with legitimate targets such as Haruna Garba and Tunde Adeniji roaming up front.  However, their defense has been spotty at best.  Center backs Bence Pávkovics and Csaba Szatmári have both tailed off after strong starts this season and it looks like lack of concentration is the culprit rather than lack of ability. 

Puskás Akadémia have shown a fairly competent attack as well in the opening six games with David Vanacek emerging as their early-season danger man. Kamen Hadzhiev has led a strong back line that has conceded more than one goal on just one occasion this season.  Both teams are coming off confidence-boosting cup wins this week and should provide some entertainment here.

Prediction: Debrecen 3-1 Puksás

Paul:  Debrecen have lost their last two matches after winning their first three matches of the season.   Something seems to be lacking in the side this season even without the services of playmaker Ádám Bódi.  Until they can discover some consistency it could be a difficult season for the Debrecen fans.

I like what I am seeing from Puskás.   Ezekiel Henty has not played well since his opening match but Ádám Gyurcsó and David Vanecek have been stepping up their play as of late.  In what could be the most entertaining match of the week, I will pick Puskás as my “upset of the week.”

Prediction: Debrecen 1-3 Puksás

Kaposvár vs Diósgyőr

Rákóczi Stadium, Kaposvár (15:00)

Chris: Even after a 4-0 win at Soltvadkert in the cup this week, Kaposvár manager Róbert Waltner wasn’t very impressed with his team’s mental approach in recent matches.  It’s no surprise that they are tipped to go straight back down this season, but he still feels he can get more from his players.  A win at Debrecen was a bit lucky, but a home game against struggling Diósgyőr might be just what they need at the moment to keep them from falling off the pace too early.  

Tamás Feczkó had a successful debut for Diósgyőr as they edged ZTE at home.  It was an important win for them as a fifth consecutive defeat would have been monstrously bad for a team with mid-table aspirations.  Miskolc will be hoping to keep a winning run going against Kaposvár but they have struggled in the scoring department with just five goals in six matches.  With Rui Pedro they have a chance to get something from this match, but their slim 1-0 win over NBIII Érd VSE was sub-standard, especially with so many first-team players in the starting XI. 

Prediction: Kaposvár 1-1 Diósgyőr

Paul:   Kaposvár play only their third home match of the season and entertain fellow strugglers Diósgyőr from the opposite eastern end of Hungary.  I am still trying to figure out this club due to their inconsistency.   Their victory over Debrecen showed that anything is possible but I am still very skeptical.  This will be a defensive battle but Kaposvár will have to wait longer for their first home victory of the season.

Tamás Feczkó is back in the NBI and returned with a victory.  His appointment will prove to be a boon to the club. These two breaks came at the perfect time for him to have extra practice sessions with his players.  The results will start showing. I still feel Feczkó was unjustly let go from MTK last season. A great recent signing was Rui Pedro who will provide some greatly needed creativity to the squad.

Prediction:  Kaposvár 0-1 Diósgyőr

Mezőkövesd vs Honvéd

Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd (15:00)

Chris: Mezőkövesd won a hotly-contested match at Kisvárda last round to keep pace near the top of the table.  With five wins in six games they are getting a lot of attention with their good form, solid defense and all-around good team play.  They will slowly grind a team into the pitch and walk off with a narrow win any day than participate in a sexy defeat. Aliaksandr Karnitski, who has helped strengthen Attila Kuttor’s midfield, will be suspended after being sent off before the break against Kisvárda.

Honvéd are not quite the finished product as they’ll still be without Davide Lanzafame and Patrick Ikenne-King.  The addition of Krisztián Vadócz in midfield and Tomas Tujvel in goal has strengthened the side but this will be a tough trip for them.  Perhaps things will look up for them next week, but his isn’t the week they turn it around.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-1 Honvéd

Paul:  Mezőkövesd bounced back with a difficult away win against Kisvárda.  Tamás Cseri, who continues to play great football, was accosted by several fans after the match in front of his wife and child.  As for football,  Mezőkövesd are back home and the week’s rest should do them good.  They will control the course of play and edge the visitors by a goal which is their usual modus operandi. 

Honvéd played a surprisingly defensive match in losing to Fehérvár by a goal.   Davide Lanzafame should miss this match again.  Krisztián Vadócz is back with the club but I am not sure if he has much left in the tank as they say.  Honvéd appear to have shored up their defense which should keep them close until a late goal wins it for the home side.

Prediction:   Mezőkövesd 2-1 Honvéd

Zalaegerszeg vs Paks

ZTE Aréna, Zalaegerszeg (15:00)

Chris: For 88 minutes Zalaegerszeg were the better team against Ferencváros last week, but two late lapses in concentration on set pieces let them down in a match they should have gotten something from.  The emergence of Eduvie Ikoba as their main target man took another step in the right direction with his second goal in three appearances for the towering American striker.  This isn’t a team to be trifled with.  Barna Dobos is also getting key midfielder Gergo Kocsis and defender Szilárd Devecseri back after both were suspended against Fradi.

Paks went from the heights of beating Mezőkövesd away to the depths of being thrashed by Ferencváros at home 4-0 in one week.  Dániel Böde has yet to open his account for his new club and the onus of offensive production has fallen to the familiar János Hahn.  They’ve run hot and cold this season and will find themselves against a team that can match them at both ends.

Prediction: Zalaegerszeg 1-0 Paks 

Paul:  Zalaegerszeg is still trying to learn how to win in the NBI.  They have come very close several times including nearly defeating the defending champions Ferencváros last week.  They had the match under control but then fell apart.  Zoltán Stieber is still a bit rusty after not playing much in MLS and we are still waiting to see the player from years ago.  This is the week where everything comes together for this newly promoted side.

Paks were embarrassed at home in their last match against Ferencváros.  Dániel Böde still hast not found his goal scoring form and has had some trouble adjusting to his new club.  Paks will continue to be a club of inconsistency despite having a good number of quality players. I still think letting Aurél Csertői go was a mistake but you never know as he may one day return to the club.

Prediction:  Zalaegerszeg 2-1 Paks

MOL Fehérvár vs Újpest 

MOL Aréna Sóstó, Székesfehérvár (19:30)

Chris: With all the attention on Ferencváros in the Europa League, Fehérvár have “quietly” gone about starting the season undefeated and assembling a chilling, deep squad of talent.  Every position is stacked with Armin Hodzic and Márkó Futács leading the way with 11 goals between them.  They’ve also posted four clean-sheets thanks to a combination of stellar goalkeeping by Ádám Kovácsik and a new, improved defense with the addition of Visar Musliu to the veteran leadership of Roland Juhász. .

Újpest couldn’t have asked for a better signing than Róbert Feczesin who has scored three goals in two games since joining on a free at the transfer deadline. Lilák were headed for a third consecutive defeat until a sensational comeback against Debrecen last round earned them their second win of the season.  It’s been a frustrating season for manager Nebojsa Vignjevic who has dealt with injuries and the inability to lure talent to his squad – more from a lack of commitment from the owners than anything.  With supporter frustration mounting, the win was a welcome relief over the last couple of weeks.  Their history against Vidi/Fehérvár in recent seasons isn’t an encouraging indicator of Újpest getting a result here, and their lack of a solid goalkeeper is worrying as well.

Prediction: Fehérvár 2-1 Újpest

Paul: What a start for Fehérvár with six straight wins to open the season.  They only bested Honvéd by a goal but 3 points is 3 points however it is done.   Armin Hodzic is playing very well and fulfilling his potential when Liverpool signed him back in 2012.  The Fehérvár train will not be derailed as they win yet again.

Újpest came to life in their home win against Debrecen.  Now the question is will the week off stop this momentum?  Róbert Feczesin has been a nice addition to the club and is a scoring threat.   Things will be back to normal as the Lilak will struggle and not put any goals past in-form keeper Ádám Kovácsik.

Prediction:  Fehérvár 2-0 Újpest

Sunday, 29 September

Ferencváros vs Kisvárda

Groupama Aréna, Budapest (16:00)

Chris: Ferencváros will be playing two games per week from now until December as they are participating in three competitions.  This will be their fourth game in 11 days and it will be a test of their depth.  They showed signs of fatigue last week at Zalaegerszeg but managed to score two late goals to grab a sensational win.  The absence of Isael, who will be serving his last of a three-game ban, will keep the winger fresh as Sergei Rebrov looks ahead to Ludogorets this week.  

Kisvárda are in need of a win this week after consecutive defeats but they will have their work cut out for them in Budapest.  There is no doubt this is an improved squad from last season with Gheorghe Grozav meeting expectations and Patrik Tischler showing his quality as he broke his duck last week with a diving header for his first goal of the season in a losing effort against Mezőkövesd. The absence of Stavros Tsoukalas (suspended) will certainly be felt in midfield.  In three games last season, Kisvárda lost all three meetings with the champions without scoring a goal.  They’ll do marginally better against a slightly rotated Fradi team.

Prediction: Ferencváros 2-1 Kisvárda

Paul: Ferencváros are on a roll and I don’t see that stopping in this match.   Rebrov has them playing very well and they are an exciting team to watch.   I am curious to see if they will be able to handle their large number of matches but here they are coming off a week’s rest after salvaging a late, exciting win over Zalaegerszeg.

Many fans of Kisvárda did not show any sportsmanship in their last match against Mezőkövesd.  This will be a situation to watch and should it continue the club must face consequences.  Back to football, I don’t see Kisvárda putting up much of a fight here and Fradi fans will show up in good numbers and voices.

Prediction:  Ferencváros 3-0 Kisvárda