NBI Round 11 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.

Paul:  Chris, I can’t believe we are in November.  It should be a great football month with NBI  weekly matches, a huge National Team match against Wales, Hungarian Cup matches,the reopening Puskás Arena  and Ferencváros of course in the Europa League.  Back to NBI, we had a total of 13 goals scored in round 10, including a surprising scoreless draw between Újpest and Zalaegerszeg.  With Hungarians observing All Saints’ Day on November 1st , I thought it would be an appropriate time to honor the great Hungarian footballers of the past.  We all know about Ferenc Puskás & the Golden Team (Hungarian: Aranycsapat; also known as the Mighty Magyars), László Kubala, Flórián Albert etc..  In fact the list could go on and on. Let us also remember some players who passed away too young such as Miklós Fehér and Márton Fülöp.  Now on to round 11 and the league we love, the Hungarian first division.

Chris: This season’s league is shaping up quite different from recent seasons. The top four have developed a seven-point buffer over the “also rans” so far, and there’s little separating the teams in the larger group. Does the sentence “Mezőkövesd are tied for first place after eleven weeks” surprise you? It shouldn’t.

Saturday, 2 November

Puskás Akadémia vs Honvéd

Pancho Aréna, Felcsút (14:30)

Chris: No one had a better cup round this week than Puskás as they put 15 goals past Maglód.  Ádám Gyurcsó led the way with five goals, and Nándor Tamás and Tamás Kiss each scored a hat trick.  This was on the heels of a tough away win at Kisvárda where Ezekiel Henty returned to the side to score his first goal since the first game of the season.  Confidence is high and Puskás return home where they’ve won their last three by two goals or more.

Honvéd had a tougher opponent in the cup and it showed as it took extra time to defeat Kazincbarcika. Bence Batik and Davide Lanzafame finally solved the NBII side in a 2-0 win.  Giuseppe Sannino’s side are in good league form and they’ve won their last three away games.  They also know that a defeat here will further separate them from the lead pack.  Batik and Lanza have been Kispest’s best players over the last four weeks with Batik leading the back line (three consecutive clean sheets) while Lanzafame continues to test the limits of the opposition’s defense (two goals in last two games).

Prediction: Puskás 2-1 Honvéd

Paul:  This match is one for the statisticians like Chris.  I will throw a few out there that are quite interesting.  Puskás have won their last two matches and their last  three home matches. Round 10 featured the mercurial Ezekial Henty scoring the winner against Kisvárda along with his usual yellow card.   Puskás (I refuse to use Chris’ team nickname) have an exciting club and this could well be a high scoring match depending on rainy  weather.

Honvéd are also in fine form and have won their last two matches as well.  On the flip side, they have won their last three away matches!. Something has to give here or does it?  Davide Lanzafame is in fine form and Amadou Moutari while still missing some chances repaid his manager’s faith and finally scored a goal against Kaposvár.  This match is too hard to pick so I will compromise and call for a draw.

Prediction: Puskás 1-1 Honvéd

Ferencváros vs Mezőkövesd

Groupama Aréna, Budapest (17:00)

Chris: Ferencváros continue to win despite not really dominating games.  Their 3-1 win in the Magyar Kupa against BKV Előre was enough to get by once again.  Tokmac, who left injured in last week’s win at MOL Fehérvár, was nowhere to be seen in their midweek match and he might be saved for their big Europa League match against CSKA on Thursday.  But this is huge match for both sides who are looking to solidify their place at the top.   

Mezőkövesd managed to squeak past NBIII side Sényő-Carnifex FC 2-1 in the cup with mostly a second-choice side.  Former Fradi player Erik Silye, who has featured in Attila Kuttor’s lineup in the last month or so, has some incentive the get one over on his old team.  Mezőkövesd have lost only twice this season so far, and both defeats have been at home.

Prediction: Ferencváros 2-2 Mezőkövesd

Paul:   For the third week in a row, we have a match featuring two top sides but this week it’s Ferencváros who are in a three way tie Mezőkövesd and Fehérvár albeit with a match in hand.   Groupama Arena should be standing room only with a great football atmosphere.   Fradi have not lost in four home matches this season and this should make it a fifth straight victory.  However, it will be a hard fought match.

Mezőkövesd trounced Debrecen at home and are p;roving to have many players capable of placing the ball in the back of the net.  They have not lost in any of their four away matches this season! We know anything is possible in the NBI but a win in Budapest would fit the modus operandi of Hungarian football.

Prediction:  Ferencváros 2-1 Mezőkövesd

Diósgyőr vs Kisvárda

Diósgyőri Stadion, Miskolc (17:00)

Chris: Diósgyőr’s Mirko Ivanovski finally opened his account last week, but also broke his nose in their win over Paks.  With the aid of a mask he should be ready to return.  DVTK had a fairly strong lineup in their midweek cup match which saw them win 3-0 over FC Dabas.  Ivanovski wasn’t in the lineup for that game but should be available to play against Kisvarda with a mask.

Kisvárda’s four defeats this season are against the top four sides and they’ve played all but one close.  Despite that, they’ve able to beat the rest of the teams in the peloton with Gheorghe Grozav (6 goals) leading the way.  Look for Claudiu Bumba to break out soon.  The Romanian midfielder has been steadily improving and I’m tipping him to open his account in this one.  

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-2 Kisvarda

Paul:  This is somewhat an Eastern Hungarian derby featuring two of the three sides in that region.  Diósgyőr came up with their first away win of the season in defeating Paks by a goal.   Tamás Feczkó is building something in this squad and they return home to Miskolc on a high note.   I will buy into the hype and call for a rare “upset of the week” based on nothing but a gut instinct.

Kisvárda fought hard but lost a home match and were unable to score against a stout Puskás defense despite a wonderful atmosphere created by their supporters.  Stavros Tsoukalas is back and it is hoped he can regain his form of last season. Super substitute Hugo Seco was in the starting 11 last week but failed to show his past last match excitement.   Kisvárda has a spotty away record but may have a good number of their fervent fans to travel the 100 miles to Miskolc.

Prediction:   Diósgyőr 1-0 Kisvarda

Kaposvár vs Újpest

Rákóczi Stadion, Kaposvár (17:00)

Chris: Kaposvár tasted victory for the first time in a while this week. They got an injury time winner against Duna Aszfalt in the cup despite having to play the second half with only ten men. The win was their first in weeks as they prop up the NBI table with only six points so far.  Goalkeeper Krisztián Pogacsics was injured in the first half of last week’s 2-0 defeat against Honvéd and he didn’t factor in the cup so it’s quite possible that backup Balázs Slatka will be between the sticks again.

Two tough results in the past two weeks have put Újpest in an unflattering position as the season reaches the one-third mark.  Lilák are in 8th place, just two points clear of a relegation spot.  They managed to dominate the second half of the midweek cup match against Ajka but they needed to bring in the big guns to get the job done in what turned out to be a 5-2 win.  Manager Nebojsa Vignjevic was encouraged by the second half performance and he should feel good about his side ending a run of two games without scoring.

Prediction: Kaposvár 1-2 Újpest  

Paul:  Kaposvár have lost their last three matches and are falling further behind in their battle to stay in NBI   Goals are hard to come by as the newcomers have only scored a single goal in their last five matches and only five for the whole season!  They encounter a tough defensive club who are having major troubles scoring goals themselves. The question is can any goals be scored in Kaposvár in this match?  I see one goal perhaps being scored in all fairness.

Újpest are in a goal scoring drought and have not scored in their last two matches despite having a myriad of goal scoring opportunities.   Lilak have won every other away match this season and this will their match to win while scoring a single goal. The goal drought will be broken but not by too much.  As they say a win is a win.

Prediction:  Kaposvár 0-1 Újpest

Zalaegerszeg vs MOL Fehérvár 

ZTE Aréna, Zalaegerszeg (17:00)

Chris: ZTE put seven past old NBII foe Budaorsi FC in the Magyar Kupa to advance to the final 32 this week.  Forwards Eduvie Ikoba and Gergely Bobál each scored a brace as Dr. Barna Dobos’ side pulled away in the second half.  The return of right back Bendeguz Bolla from suspension will boost their back line ahead of what could turn out to be a very important match.  Zalaegerszeg have played well and despite winning just two games thus far and can steal a result at home.

Fehérvár were beaten at home by the champions last week and have fallen into a three-way tie at the top of the league.  They dominated Ferencváros but were unable to convert their numerous chances.  Márkó Futács production has dried up in the last two months and his level of play has fallen off considerably.  They’ve only managed to score three goals in their last four league matches and will find Zalaegerszeg to be more difficult than they realize.

Prediction: ZTE 1-1 Fehérvár

Paul: Zalaegerszeg earned a hard fought draw against Újpest.   Young goalkeeper, Patrik Demjén was superb and continued his good start to the season.  Zalaegerszeg have only won a single home match but should give Fehervar a good match.  As in all their marches, ZTE will fight to the end but lose by a single goal.

After a great start to the season, Fehervar  have leveled off in their play. The loss of two veteren players, Roland Juhász and Szabolcs Huszti, has really affected the play of the squad.  Maybe a return by Juhász will rejuvenate the squad?

Prediction:  ZTE 1-2 Fehérvár

Debrecen vs Paks

Nagyerdei Aréna, Debrecen (17:00)

Chris: Debrecen have lost four of their last five and manager András Herczeg has looked puzzled and out of ideas.  Kevin Varga’s absence was felt last week and now Loki will add suspended Haruna Garba to the list of players who are suspended.  

Another manager that looks like a deer in the headlights in recent weeks is Paks’ Tomislav Sivic. Like Debrecen, they have just one win surrounded by four defeats in the league, but they will get forward Dániel Böde back along with defender Andras Fejes from suspension.  Paks will still find it difficult in Debrecen.

Prediction: Debrecen 1-0 Paks

Paul: Debrecen lacked any offensive firepower in losing by two goals to Mezőkövesd.  Their defense continues to look confused and conceded three goals last match night.  The loss of Kevin Varga was showed in the attack and he will miss this match as well.  Fortunately, they are back at home which should inspire the side to a victory.  András Herczeg attempts to field a solid starting 11 in both offense and especially defense.

Paks have lost their last two matches and continued their poor play in losing to Diósgyőr Dániel Böde returns after his red card ban and hopes to reignite his new club.  It has been a difficult season for Böde and Paks alike. Things don’t look to improve this week as Paks lose their third away match in a row of the season.   How soon until they have a new manager?

Prediction:  Debrecen 2-1 Paks