NBI Round 12 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:  Round 11 was my favorite round in recent memory.  So many exciting games with goals scored, and many, many surprises.  Matches that went back and forth with several decided in the second half.   What will happen this week, I can’t even begin to guess….

Chris: As we start the second lap in the league, the table is taking shape with Mezőkövesd crashing the party at the top of the table with the usual suspects Ferencváros and Fehérvár. Last week we saw some highlight reel goals from Újpest’s Donát Zsótér and Honvéd’s Dániel Gazdag. We also witnessed the third manager of the season receive his marching orders. Which teams will make a statement before the players head into the last international break of the year?

Saturday, 9 November

Zalaegerszeg vs Mezőkövesd

ZTE Aréna, Zalaegerszeg (17:00)

Chris: ZTE continue to churn out results against the top teams in the league.  Zoran Lesjak’s last-gasp leveler against Fehérvár was a testimony to this team’s resiliency despite this being their first season in the top flight in eight years.  They have the sixth best goal-difference (+1) in the league despite being below the relegation line.  Manager Barna Dobos believes that their inability to hold a lead comes down to concentration, and they’ll need all they can get against an impressive Mezőkövesd side.  Left back Krisztián Tamás came off in the second half against Fehérvár with a leg injury and is questionable for this game.

Mezőkövesd are level on points at the top of the table after the first trip through the table.  The addition of central midfielder Aliaksandr Karnitski has brought some steel to the spine of Attila Kuttor’s squad and it’s shown as they have only conceded more than one goal in two league matches so far. They won the first meeting 1-0 back in August and will be hard pressed to match that in Zalaegerszeg.

Prediction: ZTE 1-1 Mezőkövesd

Paul:  Zalaegerszeg continue to play exciting football.  Goals, goals and more goals. Isn’t Gergely Bobál playing inspired football lately? He is only 24 years old as is his twin brother Dávid. After little consideration and a gut feeling, I will do it and predict the home side to finally come though and earn three valuable points.

Mezőkövesd played a very competitive match against Fradi.  It was an entertaining match. The Men in Black (MIB) are an excellent side but this has the making of what we can in American Football a “trap game.” Coming off a big match, they will make the long trip to Western Hungary and the boys of Zalaegerszeg will pull an upset. Upset Pick #1.

Prediction: ZTE 3-2 Mezőkövesd

Kaposvár vs MOL Fehérvár

Rákóczi Stadion, Kaposvár (17:00)

Chris: Kaposvár lost their fourth in a row last week in a free-flowing match against Újpest.  Goalkeeper Krisztián Pogacsics’ backup Balazs Slatka was tapped for three goals and looked fairly below average throughout as László Disztl’s side attempted to change their approach but were outclassed in the end.  Martin Ádám did score his team-leading fourth goal of the season, but it was his first since August.   

According to their official site Fehérvár will get team captain Roland Juhász back from injury this week as well as midfielder Anel Hadzic who has been out with a viral infection. Juhász’s return will be a welcome addition to a side who has conceded five goals in their last two league games.  Marko Nikolic’s side managed a fairly comfortable 4-2 scoreline in their first meeting this season at Sóstó Aréna, but with their injured returning to the ranks and Pogacsics possibly out for Kaposvár, it could get ugly here.

Prediction: Kaposvár 0-3 Fehérvár

Paul:  Kaposvár have lost four matches in a row but they are the underdogs, the minnows, that I root for in all sports.   Wouldn’t a win here be glorious and stop that four match losing streak? Stranger things have happened in Hungarian football!

Fehervar have not won in three matches.  Can they beat the newcomers? I am not so sure on this one, but I don’t have the guts to call for a home win.   A home win would not surprise me but I can’t predict it. Stranger things have happened.

Prediction:  Kaposvár 2-3 Fehérvár

Puskás Akadémia vs Újpest

Pancho Aréna, Felcsút (17:00)

Chris: Puskás lost their first competitive match since mid-August last week at home to Honvéd despite outplaying them.  They’ll be motivated to get back to winning ways and will feel confident against a Újpest side they unhinged in Budapest to start the season. Ezekiel Henty was on fire in that game, ripping apart the Lilák backline for two goals.  The temperamental striker is back in the lineup and in fine form.  Captain Roland Szolnoki is back in the squad after serving his one-match ban last week.

Last season Újpest boasted the best defense in the league for most of the season.  So far this season they’ve shipped 17 goals in 11 games which is fifth most conceded thus far.  They’ve allowed two goals against lower league Ajka in the cup and against bottom side Kaposvár last week.  On the bright side they’re back in the goals with eight in their last two after a stretch where they only scored once in three games.  Nebojsa Vignjevic hasn’t been  satisfied with the full product on the pitch but they’re inching closer with the right mentality and should be good enough for a point.   

Prediction: Puskás 2-2 Újpest

Paul:  Puskás lost a match!  The streak is broken. Despite all the numbers that say the home side should win, throw out the statistics when either of these two sides play. Who do I want to win? The squad in this paragraph. I love the manager, I love the stadium, and I love many of the players. When I love something, I lose. Sorry “Horny Boys.” Note the aforementioned nickname is a word play on manager, Zsolt Hornyák.

In Hungarian football we are accustomed to bad news and bad news. Now we have the occasional good to go with the bad. The good news:  Újpest scored three goals and it was enough to defeat the newcomers. The bad news it was against Kaposvár who could have won the match.  Do I see three goals again? No way. But I do see an “upset of the week #2”.

Prediction:   Puskás 1-2 Újpest

Paks vs Kisvárda

Fehérvári úti Stadion, Paks (17:00)

Chris: Paks and manager Tomislav Sivics parted ways after last week’s defeat at Debrecen, leaving Paks equal on points with 11th place ZTE and perilously close to a relegation place.  Youth coach Gábor Osztermájer will take control of Saturday’s match against Kisvárda. Dániel Böde scored the lone goal in Paks defeat against Loki.  It was the first game back for the team captain after serving his three-game ban.

Kisvárda are another team who are going through a rough patch of form.  Despite controlling the game against Diósgyőr last week, they weren’t able to create and finish the dangerous chances that their opponents fashioned.  That was the difference.  Claudiu Bumba opened his account in what was arguably his best performance of the season.  Gheorghe Grozav’s current goal drought has affected the club’s fortunes but this is a chance for him to kickstart his production against a Paks side that’s out of sorts.

Prediction: Paks 1-2 Kisvárda  

Paul:  Another manager to say goodbye too as it was only a matter of time.  This Paks side is in chaos.  I have no idea who will manage or if it makes a difference.  I’ve stated on paper they look decent but I recant my statement.  Another loss in Paks. Please Aurél Csertői even if Paks ask you to return, just say no. They don’t deserve you as a manager in my humble opinion.

Two losses in a row for Kisvárda so this match comes at a great time for them.  No, yes? But, they just were trampled last week by Diósgyőr? If they cannot defeat Paks this week, they don’t belong in the NBI, or do they?

Prediction:  Paks 1-2 Kisvárda

Honvéd vs Diósgyőr 

Uj Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest (19:30)

Chris: Honvéd are looking much better in recent weeks as they’ve risen to fifth place with four wins and a draw in their last five.  Last week’s win over fancied Puskás with Giuseppe Sannino sitting in the stands showed that this team is on autopilot and the veteran presence of Davide Lanzafame (love him or hate him) continues to drive the success of this squad.  Dániel Gazdag’s lovely finish capped a fine team move for the winner last week.  Their attacking verve has only been eclipsed by their stellar defense – just two goals conceded in their last six competitive matches.

Diósgyőr have won two league games in a row under Tamás Feczkó and, all of a sudden, Miskolc are three points clear of the relegation line and look like they’re headed in the right direction.   This will be a tough match for Diósgyőr as they’ll have to attempt to break down Kispest’s five-man back line while keeping an eye on Lanzafame, Gazdag and Vadocz in attack.

Prediction: Honvéd 2-0 Diósgyőr

Paul: Honvéd have now won three matches in a row and four straight away matches as well.  The goals should come in nice numbers here but they may end up winning 1-0. Who knows?  This should be a Honvéd win either way.   Mr. Lanzafame scores a hat trick and a yellow card. For him business as usual.

Diósgyőr do not play well in Budapest.  Look it up. They often leave the capital after a sounding defeat.  It think it plays out here even with a new manager. Some things don’t change. Please prove me wrong as my uncle lives in Miskolc so I have a special place for this club in my heart.

Prediction:  Honvéd 4-1 Diósgyőr

Sunday, 10 November

Debrecen vs Ferencváros

Nagyerdei Aréna, Debrecen (17:15)

Chris: Debrecen are now looking much better after a solid win over Paks without starting forwards Haruna Garba and Kevin Varga.  Loki will be without Varga for one more game as the winger sits out the final match of his three-game ban.  Let’s not forget the last time these two teams played when then-Debrecen substitute Dániel Zsori scored the goal that won him the FIFA Puskás Award for European Goal of the Season.  

Ferencváros continue to churn out results and have done well to stay among the leaders in NBI while also remaining competitive in the Europa League – giving themselves a chance to qualify for the knockout rounds with two matches to go.  The last time Fradi lost was at home to Ludogorets in early October.  Since then they’ve played their cards close to their chest and have opted to grind their way through the fixture list, saving their best performance for a key 2-1 win over Fehérvár two weeks ago.  They’ll be without Endre Botka who is banned after picking up five yellow cards, but are hoping that Lasha Dvali will be ready to go.

Prediction: Debrecen 1-1 Ferencváros

Paul: Wait this match is on Sunday? This match looked to be a fitting way to end round 12 but now who knows?  The leaky Debrecen defense will allow at least two goals while they will fail to score none. Where is Mr. Zsor to score goals? Kevin Varga? Ibrahima Sidibe at the age of 39 is still scoring goals for NBIII side DEAC with manager, Elemér Kondás.

Ferencváros are not scoring goals.  Hard fought match against CSKA Moscow.   I was able to watch some of it and the highlights on Russian TV, though my mother who overheard said it didn’t sound like Russian to her?  Who knows? That’s why football is the sport of the world. Can Fradi score? If they can’t score against Debrecen I will be speechless. I would not mind this as I have a sore throat. Humans please rethink a flu shot. It is done to fight the flu but more often than not the humans get the flu. Side note….Fradi score more than a goal and take valuable points.

Prediction:  Debrecen 0-2 Ferencváros