NBI Round 9 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 another mini vacation.  We had a total of 17 goals scored including the surprising scoreless draw between Honvéd and Ferencváros.  Three ties, including the wild 6 goal affair between Kisvárda and Zalaegerszeg, rounded out the week.  Vasile Miriuta has the distinction of being the 2nd manager to be let go this season.  Perhaps criticizing the ownership publicly was not a good idea? I’m excited to see NBI back, let’s go!

Chris: Two derbies and a top of the the table clash await us this week among a full slate of games. With only four points separating 5th through 12th place there’s plenty up for grabs as we reach the quarter mark of the season. Nothing can be bigger than this season’s first derby to cap the day!

Saturday, 19 October

Mezőkövesd vs MOL Fehérvár

Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd (17:00)

Chris: Who would have thought that Mezőkövesd would be sitting in second place in October but they have risen to the occasion this season.  Midfielder Zsombor Berecz is featuring for this team on the rise and he’ll face his former side on Saturday.  On loan from Fehérvár, Berecz has been a key player so far this season for Mezőkövesd, playing alongside Tamas Cseri and Aliaksandr Karnitski in what has looked like a very effective midfield.

Fehérvár are coming off a 2-1 friendly win over Vasas during the international break.  Dániel Zsóri and Danilo Pantic both featured giving us a better look at the youngsters, while Funsho Bamgboye and Ivan Petriak got on the score sheet.  With Szabolcs Huszti out for an extended period it looks like it will open more time for Ákos Elek to return to a bigger role.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 1-1 Fehérvár

Paul:  Mezőkövesd rebounded in their last match with a nice win over Újpest.  Now they are back home where they have lost their last 2 matches.  This is their first real test of the season and we will see if they are Europa League contenders or pretenders?  Mezőkövesd did make a brilliant signing of Richárd Guzmics recently.  He is one of my favorites and hopefully consistent playing time will get him back on a national team that desperately needs solid defenders.   Check out the goal of the week by Zsombor Berecz. This is a match that I am really looking forward to watching.

A match between the top two sides of NBI so far!   Fehérvár have won all three of their away matches. Armin Hodzic and Márkó Futács provide a solid 1-2 scoring punch in the attack.  I am still dumbfounded as to why Futács wasn’t called up recently for the National Team matches but that is another story. Will Fehérvár show the up-and-comers that they are the team to beat in NBI?  Anything can happen here and this will be the match I am following most on Saturday.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 1-1 Fehérvár

Puskás Akadémia vs Paks

Pancho Aréna, Felcsút (17:00)

Chris: Unbeaten in the last six, Puskás are enjoying life among the top four thanks in part to a defense bolstered by Thomas Meißner and Kamen Hadzhiev.  Goals are coming from multiple sources which make this a team to take seriously.  Zsolt Hornyak’s side has started better than most thought and there no reason they can’t continue this form against an inconsistent Paks side.   

Dániel Böde will serve his second of a three-match ban this week.  The veteran forward has just one goal in seven games and the frustration is there.  He doesn’t have the service he had at Ferencváros and is still adjusting.  His absence alongside the injured Laszlo Bartha leaves a thin attacking corps heading to Felcsút.

Prediction: Puskás 2-0 Paks

Paul:   Puskás have not lost in their last 5 matches and are now up to the 4th spot on the table.   They did not look sharp against Diósgyor in some fine Hungarian fall weather.  Other than a loss to Fehérvár they have looked good at home.  Paks should be the right medicine to get them back to their winning ways.

Paks did not look too sharp in defeating Kaposvár at home.  In truth, at the end of the season, three points is three points.  If they wish to stay up in the NBI they must win their home matches and take the occasional away points from matches like these.  I still need to see more consistency from this side before I can predict some away points for them. Note to the manager, please start Mohamed Remili as he deserves it and it may help you from losing your job!

Prediction:  Puskás 3-2 Paks

Kaposvár vs Kisvárda

Rákóczi Stadion, Kaposvár (17:00)

Chris: Kaposvár’s narrow defeat at Paks last round has them at the bottom of the table.  They have two wins this season and both have been clean sheet victories against struggling sides (Diósgyőr and Debrecen).

Kisvárda can be considered a struggling side as they’re winless in their last four and dropped points at home against 9-man ZTE.  They also parted ways with manager László Miriuta and will welcome back László Dajka who managed last season alongside coach János Kocsis.  The two will be interim until a new manager is appointed.  Midfielder Stavros Tsoukalas will serve the final game of his three-match ban.  Dajka is an inspiring figure at this club and got the most out of them last season.  I expect them to rise to the occasion of a new start this week. 

Prediction: Kaposvár 1-2 Kisvárda

Paul:  Kaposvár are back at home where they have only taken 3 of the possible 9 points.  These are the matches that they must win if they wish to stay up in the NBI next season.   A home match and an opponent with a recently fired manager should equal a home win but that will be more difficult than it appears.

Kisvárda find themselves mid-table and this somehow resulted in their manager being fired. János Kocsis (not familiar with him)  takes over for Vasile Mariuta on an interim basis.  László Dajka is the manager on paper due to his having his proper qualifications but all decisions will be made by Kocsis.  The squad should come into this with a chip on their shoulder after drawing in questionable fashion against Zalaegerszeg.

Prediction:   Kaposvár 1-3 Kisvárda

Zalaegerszeg vs Honvéd

ZTE Stadion, Zalaegerszeg (17:00)

Chris: ZTE registered a hard-fought draw in Kisvárda last round and have developed a reputation of battling in each and every game.  All four of their defeats have been by a one goal, and they’ve scored three or more goals in three matches so far.  Benjamin Babati returned to the lineup last round and scored his first of the season, making it eight different players now who have scored for Zalaegerszeg.

Honvéd played to goalless draw against Ferencváros and will be looking to get back on the score sheet this week against a ZTE side who will be missing two key defenders.  This is a team that is still coming together and seems to be leaning on individual creativity instead of cohesive team.  They’ve won their only two games of the season away from home but not here.

Prediction: ZTE 2-2 Honvéd 

Paul:  Zalaegerszeg  play exciting, attacking football as evidenced by their last match against Kisvárda.  They are not one to back down against any side. Zalaegerszeg are getting accustomed to NBI football and if they can continue their improvement then relegation will not be a concern for the newcomers.  They have incorporated a good mix of young and experienced players for their initial NBI season. This will be an entertaining match though a total of six goals again would be expecting too much here.

I can’t think of the last time Honvéd played a scoreless draw. Maybe the defense is stabilizing finally?   The club is coming along nicely and manager Giuseppe Sannino has assembled a squad that has great potential.  We will have a Davide Lanzafame sighting in this match with two goals to help Honvéd secure their third straight away win.

Prediction:  ZTE 1-2 Honvéd

Debrecen vs Diósgyőr 

Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen (17:00)

Chris: Debrecen’s András Herczeg seems to have no way to remedy the only NB1 defense that has yet to keep a clean sheet this season.  Loki are on a run of four consecutive defeats and have shipped seven goals in their last three.  I keep saying that it’s only a matter of time until they turn things around but another defeat this week and they could have the beginning of a crisis on their hands.

Diósgyőr have only produced six goals in eight games so far.  So playing against one of the leakiest back lines in recent weeks might be a boost for Tamás Feczkó’s lethargic attack, but who will step up and make it happen?

Prediction: Debrecen 3-1 Diósgyőr

Paul: This is not a typo, Debrecen have lost 4 straight matches and now find themselves closer to the relegation zone than my predicted top 3 finish.  The week off could not have come at a better time for manager,András Herczeg to restore some confidence in his players. In all fairness, Debrecen did look better in their last match against  Fehérvár and were good enough to earn at least a point.  It’s time for them to stop the bleeding and they will with a convincing victory here.

Diósgyor looked much improved in earning a home draw against Puskás .  Manager Tamás Feczkó had another week to work with his new squad so while the results may not show in this match, they are on the right path.  They will find themselves against a club in a rough patch and the goal gates will open here.

Prediction:  Debrecen 4-1 Diósgyőr

Ferencváros vs Újpest

Groupama Aréna, Budapest (19:30)

Chris: Sergei Rebrov has made it clear that he’ll be starting his best lineup in the derby despite a trip to Moscow to face CSKA in the Europa League next Thursday.   Ferencváros were held without a goal for the first time all season last round against Honvéd.  

Újpest would love to end a run of 14 matches against Ferencváros without a win as they visit Groupama Aréna this week.   A big part of that will be choosing the right goalkeeper.  Filip Pajovic has been benched that last three games as Dávid Banai has been selected in front of him, but this might see Pajovic returning as he brings the experience of playing with the intensity of this match.  It also looks unlikely that Likák will have Róbert Litaszki available.

Prediction: Ferencváros 2-1 Újpest

Paul: Another derby for the 2nd straight week for Fradi,  but this is the “big one” against eternal rivals Újpest.  Let’s hope this one has a bit more excitement than their last match – a lifeless, 0-0 draw against Honvéd. I can’t imagine that happening here in a packed house at Groupama Arena.   No excuses for Ferencváros as they have no mid-week Europa League matches to blame so they will come out firing on all cylinders.

Újpest are like that ex-girlfriend who we break up with but then they come back and we believe that things will be different and better.  In the words of Paul McCartney after the breakup of the Beatles, “you can’t reheat a souffle.” I really, really want to see a good, exciting match but I sadly do not.  Finally, a link for a real taste of the derby.

Prediction:  Ferencváros 3-1 Újpest