Örökrangadó usher's in new NBI season

The "Eternal Derby" raises the curtain on the much-anticipated 2020-21 season.

It's been a confusing summer of canceled leagues, postponed tournaments and frantic finishes across the world to get football back in sync with where our brains are telling us it should be at this point. With the Champions League final yet to be played and the next season's CL and EL qualifiers getting under way at the same time, we're all still scrambling to make sense of this pandemic interruption of what has guided our calendars for years on end.

In Hungary, the start of the season has been delayed a bit. The champions, Ferencváros, haven't yet been tested in Europe and the pre-season hope of each club has yet to be dashed upon the rocks. But here we go! It all starts back today.

Kicking off this season is the 216th örökragadó where MTK returns to the Hungarian top flight after a second season in the NBII wilderness in the last four years. The NBII champs will be at home to face the NBI champs, Ferencváros, whose last defeat against the 8th district side was four years ago, and that only to a last-gasp penalty by the ineffable Sándor Torghelle.

Here's a quick look at the two sides kicking off the season today at 18:15 CET.

MTK Budapest

Finished last season as NBII champions, five points ahead of runners up Budafok. Led by László Lencse who scored 14 goals and 7 assists in 21 games last season, MTK will have to rely heavily upon him as his supporting cast has been thinned. István Bognár (7 goals, 8 assists) is now with Paks and Patrik Vass (6 goals, 1 assist) shifted to Zalaegerszeg at the end of July.

German manager Michael Boris has made a few additions, however, that should bolster them in what they hope to be a successful season back in the top flight. The veteran presence of defender Benjámin Balázs will be helpful while Patrick Ikenne-King will attempt to restart his career (again). The Nigerian right back made just 13 appearances and was mostly forgettable last season at Honvéd.

Some unknowns that could make an impact are Montenegrin goalkeeper Milan Mijatovic and Portuguese center back Thiago Ferreira. Mijatovic, who has been given the #1 shirt after being signed this summer from Levski Sofia in Bulgaria, might just be a solid back to Bence Somodi who carried the lion's share of duty in goal for MTK last season. Ferreira is likely looking to make an impact in what has been an anonymous career so far.

Player to watch: Look out for 22 year old forward Bence Bíró who returned to Hungary in January after joining Portuguese side Vítoria Guimarães as a teenager six years ago.


Fradi won their 31st title last season. The feat was rarely in doubt as they dominated for most of the season while also carrying a Europe League group stage campaign alongside their domestic schedule. Sergiy Rebrov's side has really come together as undeniably the most talented squad in the league and are favorites to repeat again this season.

With a few tweaks, Rebrov has managed to keep the core of the team intact with a couple of key additions and subtractions. Goalkeeper Ádám Bogdán was lured back to Hungary from Hibs and should provide a stern test for Fradi's Denes Dibusz. Defender Adnan Kovacevic is another interesting signing - the former Korona Kielce player brings depth to an already solid defense. He'll likely fill the minutes of center back Kenny Otigba (13 appearances last season) who has moved on.

Another player we say "so-long" to is veteran Leandro who has been sent to Fradi's second squad for the start of the season. With Isael in control of the midfield and Rebrov looking to get leaner and stronger, this could be another exciting, hardware-filled season for the Hungarian giants.

Player to watch: Keep an eye on young forward Roko Baturina who scored 8 goals in 16 games for NK Bravo last season in the Slovenian top flight. With another possible European campaign in store for Fradi, the young, former Dinamo Zagreb prospect could turn some heads.

Prediction: MTK 1-2 Ferencváros

NBI Round 24 Preview

It's been an interesting week around the globe as the growing novel coronavirus has disrupted most of our comfortable lives and affected people in many areas - some worse than others. In this uncertain time many football leagues have decided to play behind closed doors or postpone matches altogether, but we're lucky to have Hungarian football (for this week at least) and hope to continue to enjoy the beautiful game unhindered for as long as we can.

So welcome back to the NBI as Paul Treso and Chris Barrett take a quick look at each of the match-ups this week.

Saturday, 7 March, 2020

Paks vs Honvéd

Fehérvári úti Stadion, Paks (17:00)

Chris: This will be the second of three games Paks is playing against Honvéd in ten games. Paks held Kispest to a goalless draw at home during their Magyar Kupa quarterfinal first-leg match on Wednesday. Their league defeat last round against Kisvárda was their third in their last four games and they're now just above the relegation with ZTE nipping at their heels. Norbert Könyves returns to the lineup after his latest red card forced him to watch the last three league games from the stands.

Honvéd have also had a tough week, losing ignominiously at home to Diósgyőr and failing to register a goal in the cup. Their once solid defense came apart last week and deputy manager István Pisont will look to right the ship in the absence of quarantined boss Giuseppe Sannino. The team doesn't look settled and with one goal scored in their last three competitive matches,

Prediction: Paks 1-0 Honvéd

Paul: Paks has lost three of their last four matches but have won three of their last four home matches.  Conflicting statistics which make this match a very difficult one to prognosticate. Honvéd fell apart against Diósgyőr and that is putting it kindly.  No manager again this weekend. Amadou Moutari missed a 100% scoring opportunity last match in yet another of his "Benny Hill" type scoring blunders.  One would have to hope Roland Urgai is ready to go and fit enough to play 90 minutes. Against all odds, an away win as I have to think Honvéd will rebound after an embarrassing display last week.

Prediction: Paks 0-2 Honvéd

Diósgyőr vs Ujpest

DVTK Stadion, Miskolc (17:00)

Chris: Diósgyőr are one of the hottest teams in the league right now with just one defeat in seven matches this spring, and slowly climbing up the table to fifth place. Florent Hasani wowed spectators last week, but the whole team put in a memorable performance to crush Honvéd 4-0. They now return home where they've won two of their last three.

Újpest are slipping rapidly and their home turf at Szusza Ferenc Stadion continues to be an issue, forcing them to play in far-off ZTE last week and falling to Puskás in a five-goal game. Obinna Nwobodo played one of his best performances of the spring and Andreis Calcan scored a magnificent goal - his second in as many games, but Lilák can't seem to string good results together.

Prediction: DVTK 2-1 Újpest

Paul: It is amazing but Diósgyőr is in the fifth spot in the NBI.  They look amazing and Gabor Molnar is proving to be quite the super substitute.  This one should be an ugly match and will be interesting to see if the home side can continue their good play and consistency.  Újpest received an old fashioned thrashing in their defeat against Puskás and are now in the conversation for the relegation battle.   They have had past success in Miskolc but it should be business as usual in this amazing season for the home side.

Prediction: DVTK 1-0 Újpest

Puskás Akademia vs MOL Fehérvár

Pancho Aréna, Felcsút (17:00)

Chris: Puskás kept their impressive league form intact last week with a solid win against Újpest but fell at home to Mezőkövesd in the cup. Now within three points of the podium, Zsolt Hornyak's side can smell blood in the water and will look to make it a tough day for visiting Fehérvár. They'll have to do without creative spark Josip Knezevic who is suspended after picking up his 10th yellow card of the season.

Fehérvár made it a clean sweep of the bottom clubs last week, beating Zalaegerszeg and Kaposvár by a combined score of 7-1 over the past two rounds. But ZTE provided quite the cup shock on Wednesday as they exacted some revenge with a 2-0 home win over Joan Carillo's team. Fehérvár should be in good shape with many of their players returning from injury and suspensions. They've only scored one goal in their last four away games, but Ivan Petriak has looked other-worldly in his last two games.

Prediction: Puskás 0-1 Fehérvár

Paul: Puskás looked excellent in their win over Ujpest and the question is can they continue that play against higher quality competition.  A few key injures may saddle the club but they could easily pull off a victory in this match.  Fehérvár look a lot better in recent weeks.   Ivan Petryak has been playing lights out which has coincided with these improved play.  I particularly liked how he made sure to assist Nikolics in getting on the goal sheet.

Prediction: Puskás 2-2 Fehérvár

Kaposvár vs Mezőkövesd

Rákóczi Stadion, Kaposvár (17:00)

Chris: Kaposvár haven't won in the last eight competitive games and haven't scored in their last three matches. The team looks outmatched in most games and confidence has to be at an all-time low at this point. They've played some good football at times but their inability to score with any consistency has them doomed to a long spring of disappointment ahead.

Mezőkövesd are smarting after a narrow defeat to a plucky Zalaegerszeg side last week, but they turned it around and won the first leg of their cup quarterfinal in Felcsút to take the advantage against Puskás in the quarterfinals. This should be a good game for them to get back to winning ways in the league.

Prediction: Kaposvár 1-3 Mezőkövesd

Paul: Kaposvár were dismantled easily by Fehérvár.   They had no attack and their swiss cheese defense was on display yet again.  Mezőkövesd were the victims of a hangover and came back to earth against Zalaegerszeg.  Can they score more than a few goals in this match? The right team at the right time to get Mezőkövesd back to their winning ways.

Prediction: Kaposvár 1-3 Mezőkövesd

Debrecen vs Kisvárda

Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen (17:00)

Chris: Debrecen are sliding dangerously close to a relegation fight if they don't turn things around soon. Loki have lost three straight and are up against it, facing a spirited Kisvárda side at home on Saturday. They've conceded nine goals in their last three games, but return home after consecutive away games.

Kisvárda haven't won a league game away from home since mid-October and, despite a strong win against Paks last week, I don't think this will be the week they get maximum points on the road. However, this might be quite the thriller as both sides can score goals.

Prediction: Debrecen 2-2 Kisvárda

Paul: Debrecen looked listless against Ferencváros as evidenced by their opening gift goal to Fradi.  That has to be one of the oddest goals I have ever seen.  Debrecen look to be in major disarray and now have lost three matches in a row.  Kisvárda have developed a nice style of play under their new manager.  Their away form still leaves a lot to be desired but I see the away side breaking form with a rare way win.

Prediction: Debrecen 1-2 Kisvárda

Zalaegerszeg vs Ferencváros

ZTE Aréna, Zalaegerszeg (19:30)

Chris: Zalaegerszeg are on a sensational run with four victories in their last five competitive matches including a memorable 2-0 win against MOL Fehérvár this week in the Magyar Kupa. I think their attentions are on the cup now as a real target and, even though they'll fight hard, they'll have their minds on next week's second leg in Székesfehérvár.

Fradi have likely been under the watchful glare of manager Sergei Rebrov this week after rebounding from a rare defeat with a 2-0 win at home against Debrecen. Rebrov will expect nothing but the continuation of plucking maximum points as they search for a second consecutive title.

Prediction: ZTE 0-1 Ferencváros

Paul: Zalaegerszeg are on a nice roll after a league win last week and an impressive Cup win over Fehervar.  This match has suddenly become a very intriguing one as Ferencváros have shown that they are very beatable lately.  I so want to pick the home side for an upset victory but cannot do it.  Sometimes the brain wins over the heart.

Prediction: ZTE 1-2 Ferencváros

NBI Round 22 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.

After this week's Magyar Kupa matches, the NBI is right back at it on Saturday as they reach the two-thirds of the season mark. The Mezőkövesd vs Ferencváros prime time match looks to be the match of the week but, of course, we will look at them all.

Saturday, 22 February

Kisvárda vs Diósgyőr

Várkert Stadion, Kisvárda (17:00)

Chris: Kisvárda take a double hit this week due to suspension.  Creative midfielder Claudiu Bumba and center back Cornel Ene’s absences will weaken the team’s center.  They were outclassed in Felcsút last week and Ene’s red card made it impossible for them to get a foothold.  The biggest question is, “when will Gheorghe Grozav realize the spring season has started?”  Kisvárda’s danger-man has been suspiciously quiet despite getting into some dangerous positions - will this be the week he wakes up Kisvárda’s attack?

Diósgyőr showed they can grind out a game against Paks last week and now have just one defeat in their last five games.  Tamás Fekczó has guided Miskolc up to sixth place now after many thought they were destined for the drop back in November.  Tamás Kiss has been a great winter signing and has given them many more opportunities in the attacking third. The visitors section was sold out by DVTK supporters this week so expect a good atmosphere here.
Prediction: Kisvárda 1-2 Diósgyőr

Paul: Unfortunately this match won't be in Diósgyőr which would make this match much more interesting in my mind at least.   Tamás Bódog faces a side that is vastly different and much more confident than the Diósgyőr squad he managed years ago.  Kisvárda has some major defensive holes which have been exposed in their last two matches.  Until they are fixed, welcome to the relegation zone boys!

Diósgyőr followed the example of the other sides of the NBI in taking care of business in the victory deparement.  They played Paks at the right time last Saturday and took advantage with a relaxing two goal victory. Their away form has been vastly improved and let’s add another away win to their achievements.  Wouldn’t it be something if this side was safe from relegation going into the final match of the season? They have become in my humble opinion (IMHO for those of you who like to save words) a solid midtable club and will remain so.

Prediction: Kisvárda 1-2 Diósgyőr

Honvéd vs Puskás Akadémia

Új Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest (17:00)

Chris: Honvéd haven’t conceded a goal in the league in their last three games and the addition of Patrik Hidi in the middle of the park has been a big part of that.  The returns of Gergo Nagy and Daniel Gazdag to the squad have bolstered a team that was already coming into form.  With Davide Lanzafame starting to score again, you have to look at Honvéd as a legitimate threat although they do seem to be heavily reliant on the Italian to produce up front.  Their cup tie against Haladás went to extra time on Wednesday and they emerged victorious but decided to field a mainly first-choice squad with Lanzafame, Aliji and Kalnoki-Kis the notables who were rested.

Two wins on the bounce for Puskás have them clinging onto fourth place.  Last week’s win over Kisvárda was quite a performance as they took the game to them even before Kisvarda were reduced to ten men.  There’s a lot at stake here as both teams are still within a shout to battle for a spot on the podium.  Puskás cruised to a 3-0 win over Bekescaba in the cup and top prospect György Komáromi scored his first goal for the senior side as Zsolt Hornyak rotated. 
Prediction: Honvéd 2-1 Puskás

Paul: Honvéd are winning the matches that they should against inferior opponents.  Of course, they are not dominating anyone by any means but three points are three points at the end of the season.  This is a battle of two sides who hope to play European football this summer. Despite missing their home stadium, the magic of Davide Lanzafame will come through on a late goal in another single goal victory.   Side note: the new stadium looks fabulous in recent photos.

Like  Honvéd, Puskás are still alive in the Hungarian Cup which offers both clubs multiple routes to possible Europa League spots.  And like their opponents, they have won their last two matches against squads they should defeat. Something has to give here, doesn’t it?   They looked better in putting three in the net against Kisvárda but the tight defense of Honvéd will tie them up in a close and hard fought match.

Prediction: Honvéd 0-2 Puskás

Kaposvár vs Újpest

Rákóczi Stadion, Kaposvár (17:00)

Chris: Kaposvár crashed out of the cup this week and are reeling in the league despite some battling performances.  Their narrow defeat against Honvéd last week wasn’t a hammering and they came close to getting something out of it.  They might see a floundering Újpest as a possibility to get some traction at home this week.

Újpest were eliminated in the cup by the slimmest of margins against Fehérvár on Wednesday, and they now have what looks like a fight against relegation to worry about in the final third of the season.  This is a must-win match for manager Nebojsa Vignjevic, but even he has doubts about his side’s ability and desire to win.  Dzenan Burekovic’s return shores up the left side, but Jonathan Heris’ suspension keeps will bring keep Kire Ristevski in the lineup but thin out his bench.  This is such a bad stretch for Lilák I can’t see them getting much out of this one.

Prediction: Kaposvár 1-1 Újpest

Paul: Can Kaposvár win this match?  Igen as against Újpest anything can happen and usually does.  Kaposvár continue to fight and play hard to make up for their talent defecit in matches.  How nice if a good number of Hungarian clubs took note of this fight and effort rather than doing the bare minimum!  Another good effort by the home team but unfortunately yet another defeat. This last sentence has become a mainstay of my  Kaposvár notes.

Újpest are out of the Hungarian Cup and find themselves losers of three of their last four matches.  The ownership is still rightly 100% behind their manager Nebojsa Vignjevic but one has to imagine Vignjevic is growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of effort of his squad.   A match against the last place side in NBI comes at the right time for the Lilak who should find a way to take the three points.

Prediction: Kaposvár 0-2 Újpest

MOL Fehérvár vs Zalaegerszeg

MOL Sóstó Aréna, Székesfehérvár (17:00)

Chris: Fehérvár fell against the league leaders last week, but rebounded to claim a hard-fought cup win against Újpest on Wednesday.   Injuries and rotation affected the side that eventually got them through to the quarterfinals, and they’ll be even more hampered against ZTE on Saturday with Akos Elek, Marko Futács, and Armin Hodzic all suspended.  Loïc Nego’s absence has been a blow for Joan Carillo’s side and it looks as if he’ll be out a little longer due to injury. 

ZTE have had a great week.  After a come-from-behind win over Újpest at the weekend, they clobbered Lipoti in the cup 5-1 to complete a second, come-from-behind victory in a week.  The addition of Ferencváros midfielder Lukas Bole as well as winter signing Fanos Katelaris have been pivotal.  David Bobal and Gergo Kocsis’ returns from suspension will also bolster the squad ahead of what should be a competitive game at Sóstó Arena. 

Prediction: Fehérvár 1-1 ZTE

Paul: Fehérvár hung around most of the match against Ferencváros but showed that they are not in the same class as Fradi.  Fehérvár, even with the added firepower of Nemanja Nikolics, seems to lack the ability to score more than multiple goals.   This should be the case here as well in a victory by a single goal. Note: my record in picking games featuring Zalaegerszeg is abysmal. 

Zalaegerszeg showed that they are not ready to concede their place in the NBI just yet and thank goodness for that.  Often times the relegation battles are the ones that I enjoy the most in the league. I may have written off this team a bit too early (sure hope this is the case as I want them in the NBI).   With their away record as evidence, a draw would be a success here but I don’t count on that happening in a league that doesn’t fancy draws.

Prediction: Fehérvár 2-1 ZTE

Paks vs Debrecen

Fehérvári úti Stadion, Paks (17:00)

Chris: Paks quietly progressed to the quarterfinals of the Magyar Kupa with a modest home win on Wednesday to finish off Pecs.  Their defeat against Diósgyőr at the weekend wasn’t as comprehensive as it looked on paper and with Daniel Böde returning to the lineup at home this could be a good time for Paks to bounce back with a win. 

Debrecen’s defense was exposed once again this season, this time by a masterful performance by Mezőkövesd.  Debrecen weren’t outplayed, just outclassed as Mezőkövesd were more efficient and held off Loki’s advances in the second half with confidence until a late consolation goal.  After a recent strong run, this could be start of a dip in form and playing at Paks at this time of year is never a good thing.

Prediction: Paks 2-1 Debrecen

Paul: As the world turns in Paks…not the name of Hungarian soap opera but life in Paks after two wins in a row  now followed by two losses. Last week, Paks were admittedly playing shorthanded in the striker department and it showed in their attack and lack thereof.  Their once impressive dominance in past years is gone so a draw would help their NBI cause ever so slightly.

After showing some nice improvement, Debrecen was brought back to Earth by Mezőkövesd.  They should play a solid match here and even a victory would not be suprising in the least.  Both sides are maddeningly inconsistent, so, rather than go out on a limb either way, I won’t!

Prediction: Paks 1-1 Debrecen

Mezőkövesd vs Ferencváros

Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd (19:30)

Chris: Mezőkövesd are looking very good heading into what has to be the match of the season for them so far.  A slightly rotated side took care of business at Kaposvár this week as Attila Kuttor’s side advanced to the quarterfinals of the cup with a 5-2 aggregate win.  The likes of Tamás Cseri and Budu Zivzivadze were rested fully and they should be feeling confident at home where they are unbeaten in their last four league games (3W, 1D). 

Ferencváros with be without two key players in forward Franck Boli and defender Eldar Civic, both of whom are suspended for yellow card accumulation.  Fradi’s narrow win over closest chasers MOL Fehérvár last week has them on the cusp of consecutive NBI titles.  They sit six point clear with two games in hand and concentrating fully on the league.  Rebrov won’t do anything foolish here, and a draw against a motivated third-place Mezőkövesd isn’t a bad result.  The two shared the points back in early November at Groupama and another stalemate might be on the cards. 

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 1-1 Ferencváros

Paul: The match of the week in yet another battle between the top sides of Hungary. Mezőkövesd has the starting eleven  to go punch for punch with the champions.  If they can get an early goal in a packed house of rabid, home fans, anything can happen.   I see a competitive match with entertaining football but a narrow defeat for the home side in the final moments of the match with a goal by….Tokmac!

Ferencváros play the Rebrov style to perfection.  Get the three points no matter what the style of play needed.  Their match last week against Fehérvár let me down so my choice to go to my monthly ukulele practice was rewarded.  I’m hoping for a more entertaining match here but will miss the match sadly as well. Thank goodness for post match highlights.   Fradi will give what is needed to defeat the home side and keep their impressive home streak intact. As Al Davis the owner of the once Oakland now Las Vegas Raiders said, “Just win baby.”

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 1-2 Ferencváros

NBI Round 21 Preview

The league is front and center again on Saturday as the heavy schedule rolls on. Most teams have played four games in less than two weeks and after this week's cup matches the fatigue might be more evident in this round. Join Chris Barrett and Paul Treso as they preview each match and give you their predictions.

Saturday, 15 February

Debrecen vs Mezőkövesd

at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen (17:00)

Chris: Debrecen came from behind last week at Diósgyőr to stretch their unbeaten run to four games.  With most everyone available this week and the possibility of players coming back from injuries, Debrecen could be hitting the stride most thought they’d hit this season.  No midweek cup match to fatigue the squad is a bonus.

After falling to Fehérvár last week, Mezőkövesd returned to winning ways in the cup on Wednesday with a 2-1 home win over Kaposvár while being able to rotate their squad.  They were unlucky not to get something out of the Fehérvár game as they had two goals ruled out on close calls and by no means looked second best.  Daniel Vadnai returns from suspension and Attila Kuttor pretty much has a full side to choose from. 

Prediction: Debrecen 2-2 Mezőkövesd

Paul: Debrecen has not lost in their last four matches and in fact have not lost in 2020.  They scored a rare away victory in Miskolc and the side are now up to the sixth position.  This will be a major test for the side as they seek to attempt to regain that famous Debrecen home field advantage.  The fact that I am even thinking of a victory speaks volumes of how far this side has come since their embarassing loss at the end of 2019 to Kaposvár. 

Mezőkövesd found that the upper echelon of Hungarian football is still ruled by  Ferencváros and Fehérvár.  Their away form has left a lot to be desired in the new year.   Unfortunately for Mezőkövesd, they catch a team on the rise but they should have enough wherewithall to earn a valuable draw which is always an achievement in Debrecen

Prediction: Debrecen 2-2 Mezőkövesd

Zalaegerszeg vs Újpest

at ZTE Aréna, Zalaegerszeg (17:00)

Chris: ZTE seem to be slipping fast, and the introduction of new boss Gábor Márton this week wasn’t able to galvanize them as they lost to NBIII side Lipoti in the first leg of their cup tie against them on Wednesday.  All season long this team has been snakebit in front of goal, but perhaps a new manager will shake things up - but only after the squad settles in with him. Midfielder Gergo Kocsis will be. a significant absence as he’s been one of their more consistent performers in Zalaegerszeg’s transition game, but the late addition Lukas Bőle from Fradi gives them a big boost in midfield.  They could be playing Újpest at the right time. 

Újpest had Saturday off as the derby was cancelled, but even with a fresh team they were unable to find a way past Fehérvár in the cup this week.  Dzenan Burekovic’s suspension will force Nebosja Vignjevic to change some things around.  Burekovic has been serviceable to good this season and he’ll be missed on the left side.  It’s difficult to see this club enjoying much success with everything that’s going on internally as well as on the pitch.  Vignjevic was audibly upset during halftime of the cup match on Tuesday, but hopefully he’s inspired his players to turn things around this week.

Prediction: ZTE 1-1 Újpest

Paul: The new year has not started out well for Zalaegerszeg to say the least.  They have not won in 2020, earning only a draw in four matches. Yet another new managerial changel in Gábor Márton.  A surprising choice in my opinion as he was an excellent player, but I have no idea about his managerial experience nor performance. Perhaps Ferenc Horváth is too busy enjoying his year off?  After an embarassing mid-week  Cup loss this side needs a vitamin B shot NOW to energize themselves or a quick return to the second divsion is in order.  

Újpest should be fresher than most sides due to only playing a Cup match in the mid-week.  Their away form has been solid and their defense should keep them in match with a draw being the logical choice.   Of course a victory is not out of the question as well. All this depends on the mental condition of the home side which is anyone’s guess.

Prediction: ZTE 1-1 Ujpest

Kaposvár vs Honved

at Rákócki Stadion, Kaposvar (17:00)

Chris: Kaposvár have been abysmal lately, and they were unable to take advantage of a weaker Mezőkövesd side in the cup as they field their own second choice side - probably with hopes of turning things around in the league.  There’s not much to base any hope on this side without a bit of luck and some inspiration from within.

Honvéd signed experienced winger Roland Ugrai.  The former Diósgyőr and Haladás player returns to NBI after a 16 month stint in Greece.  It’s likely he’ll make his debut against Kaposvár as the fixture list has put a lot of stress on clubs over the past few weeks.  Honvéd will also get Bence Bano-Szabo back from suspension this week so Giuseppe Sannino should have most of his players available.  Their midweek cup match against Haladás produced plenty of drama with Davide Lanzafame unsurprisingly in the middle of.  This should be a fairly easy three point for a team that has come together defensively and are in fairly good form.

Prediction: Kaposvár 0-2 Honvéd

Paul: Kaposvár’s leaky defense was apparent and exposed in allowing 5 goals in their defeat last week to Kisvárda.   They do play exciting matches to say the least as 8 goals matches are few and far between in the NBI. Kaposvár has lost their last three home matches and even a draw here would be a minor miracle.   They continue to fight and show spirit as their ineviatable demotion is merely a formality.

Honvéd had quite an exciting mid-week Cup match but I will leave it at that.   They made a great new signing in Roland Ugrai after his return from Greece. I am not sure how much he will feature here.   This an excellent chance for Honvéd to earn a valuable away victory. Despite their poor away record anything but a victory would be a great dissapointment.

Prediction: Kaposvár 0-2 Honvéd

Puskás Akadémia vs Kisvárda

at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút (17:00)

Chris: DefenderKamen Hadzhiev returns for Puskás this week and they’ll need him against a Kisvárda side that exploded for five goals against Paks last round.  Pancho Aréna hasn’t been a comfortable place for Puskás this season as they’ve been without a win there in their last six.  They sent out a fairly strong starting XI against Bekescsaba in the cup this week.

If Tamás Bódog’s return to NBI means more goals, then this could be an exciting team as the season progresses.  Kisvárda took advantage of every opportunity despite conceding three goals and managed to grab three points for the first time since November last week against Paks.  With no cup match to draw their attention away they have been able to concentrate solely on the league.  Patrick Tischler seemed a man re-born under Bódog last week, but it remains to see if his tutelage will also bring consistency.

Prediction: Puskás 1-2 Kisvárda

Paul: Puskás are hoping to build on the momentum of  their comfortable Cup win. The minor obstacle to this thought is their home record.   Puskás has not won in their last five home matches but still find themselves just four points behind in the race for  the third spot in the table. I can’t figure out this club. On paper they are much better than on the pitch, but in truth isn’t true of a great many sides in football?

Quite a return to the NBI for new manager Tamás Bódog with a big assist from Kaposvár.  Patrik Tischler is alive and well as his name has not been mentioned in who knows how long?  I have to wager that there has not been an “all header” hat trick (any correct terms for this football fans?) in the NBI this season and who knows when the last time this rare feat happened?  Goals should be much harder to come here in a tight match. Kisvárda will need to play much better here than round 20 to have any shot at a point(s).

Prediction: Puskás 2-1 Kisvárda

Diósgyőr vs Paks

DVTK Stadion, Miskolc (17:00)

Chris: Diósgyőr started well last week but were unable to hold onto their early lead against Debrecen.  They played well enough to earn a point but were unlucky in a couple of occasions.  Fully rested and at home this week, they should be able to take advantage of a weakened Paks side. 

Paks dropped a difficult one last week, seeing two key players sent off in Daniel Böde and Norbert Könyves - both of whom deserved their dismissals but not without some crap sportsmanship from Puskás.  They did managed to win the first leg of their cup match against Pecsi on Wednesday but their attack will be severely hampered without two of their best producers.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 2-0 Paks

Paul: Diósgyőr came back to earth last weekend with a resounding thud.  They home record has been poor despite having some of the best fans in Hungarian football.  Last week they were outplayed by Debrecen in losing at home. This round despite playing a much improved Paks side, they will find a way to win in a tight, low scoring match.

Paks took care of business in their mid-week Cup battle but will be missing Norbert Könyves who has been their best player of late.  Paks has won two of their last three away matches but even a draw here is a bit much to ask of this side but not impossible. Maybe János Hahn will get a chance to earn his way back to the starting 11?   He has proven to be an excellent warm weather player and the weather in Hungary has been very nice lately.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-0 Paks

Ferencváros vs MOL Fehérvár

at Groupama Aréna, Budapest (19:30)

Chris: Ferencváros are well-rested and mostly healed up for what could be a turning-point match of the season against second-place Fehérvár.  With so much depth in midfield, they sent Lukas Bole to ZTE this week to get more playing time.  Fradi are champing at the bit and should take the game to a beaten and battered Fehérvár side.

Fehérvár claimed a massive win against closest pursuers Mezőkövesd last week despite not being the better team on the pitch.  They are struggling with injuries as right back Attila Fiola has been added to the heap that includes Loïc Nego and Szabolcs Huszti none of which are likely to feature in this top of the table clash.  Lyes Nouri hammered a stunning goal to open his account last week and Nemanja Nikolics is slowly becoming re-acclimated to NBI football after making his debut as a second half substitute last week.

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-1 Fehérvár

Paul: Ferencváros had no matches during the week due to their early Cup exit and the unplayable grounds at Újpest.   The extra time should benefit the club as I am certain their manager Rebrov made valuable use to acclimate his new players to the side.  Things should be a bit more difficult here than it would have been a few weeks ago.

Fehérvár hopefully have found themselves after looking much better in their defeat of Mezőkövesd last Saturday.   Despite their poor play, they are still only three points behind Fradi with Fradi having a game in hand. These matches have not usually lived up to the hype but I see this match having some quality football.   It was special to see Nemanja Nikolić back in the NBI and he should be featured more in this match. A low scoring draw but will live up to the billing this time!

Prediction: Ferencváros 1-1 Fehérvár

NBI Round 20 Preview

With games coming thick and fast to start the spring season the teams are having to settle in earlier and this week should be an exciting lineup of games. One very large absence this week, however, will be the Budapest derby as Újpest's newly-laid pitch at Szusza Ferenc has been deemed unfit for the teams to play and has been postponed to a later date.

As unfortunate as that is, there are still five other games to watch on Saturday including a mouthwatering clash between second and third place in Székesfehérvár with a certain legend returning at the same time. Read on for all the ins and outs of this week's games.

Saturday, 8 February

MOL Fehérvár vs Mezőkövesd

MOL Aréna Sóstó, Székesfehérvár (17:00)

Chris: Fehérvár got the best news they could have hoped for this week as Nemanja Nikolics returned to the club after a five-year hiatus where he won scoring titles in Poland with Legia and in the United States with Chicago.  His return is huge boost for Joan Carillo’s side who have averaged less than a goal scored per game in their last five league matches.  Fehérvár failed to kill the game off against Debrecen last week and paid for their profligacy as Debrecen leveled with a late penalty.  Right back Loïc Nego continues to miss with a calf injury which won’t help as Fehérvár look to end a run of five home games without a victory. 

Mezőkövesd came from behind to secure a draw on Tuesday to keep pace with the top teams with new signings Marin Jurina and Dino Besirovic finding the back of the net.  Besirovic has been a great addition so far and has scored in consecutive games. Regular left back Daniel Vadnai is suspended for this one after accumulating five yellow cards.  A win here will pull them ahead of Fehérvár but it will probably require more than the 1.3 goals they’ve scored on average this season.  Mezőkövesd haven’t won in their last three trips to Vidi/Fehérvár. 

Prediction: Fehérvár 2-2 Mezőkövesd

Paul: The match of the week in my humble opinion!  Makes sense as it’s a battle between two of the top sides in Hungary at the moment.  Fehérvár needed a shot in the arm after their recent lackluster play.   Perhaps Nemanja Nikolić can be that shot?  I am excited to see him play as it has been a while.  I am not sure of his fitness level or if he figures to be a part of this match.

This is a test for Mezőkövesd to see if they are ready to remain an upper echelon team in Hungary.  They catch Fehérvár at the right time as the home side has been abysmmal of late.  Mezőkövesd were hard pressed to earn a late draw last week against Újpest and had to work hard to gain that single point. Tamás Cseri almost scored the goal of the week but his shot was denied not by the keeper but the cross bar.  Last round, was it 5 of 6 matches that ended in a draw? Easy is not always the right choice, especially when predictions are involved.

Prediction: Fehérvár 1-1 Mezőkövesd

Paks vs Puskás Akadémia

Fehérvári úti Stadion, Paks (17:00)

Chris: Paks were the only midweek winners in NBI and have won their last two games against the bottom teams.  This should be a much tougher test, but they have a full squad to choose from with Bence Lenszer returning from suspension.  Forward Dániel Böde has looked much better in the last couple of games, but can he keep it up and help Paks to a third consecutive home win?

Puskas haven’t been able to separate themselves from the middle of the table with five draws and a defeat in their last six games.  The frustration has shown on the pitch as they’ve amassed 10 yellow cards and two red cards since the start of the spring season less than two weeks ago.  Kamen Hadzhiev is the latest to miss as he sits out his second game of the spring following his double yellow debacle despite his usually solid performance.  He’ll be missed.  Goalkeeper Lajos Hegedus’ equalizing goal in the final minutes of Wednesday’s game against Diósgyőr was inspirational but shows the club’s need for another scorer.  Adám Gyurcsó is still finding dangerous positions but he hasn’t scored since returning from winter break and they’ll need him to be sharp to keep Puskás’ streak of seven away games without defeat intact.

Prediction: Paks 1-1 Puskás

Paul: Paks have won four of their last five matches and are playing much improved football.  Of course, their last two matches were against fellow relegation sides but these are the matches that a team must win to stay up and avoid relegation.  Norbert Könyves is playing inspired football that recalls his glory days at Debrecen.   
Gábor Osztermajer, while a total unknown to me, is proving to be the man for the job at Paks after his recent successes as manager.

Puskás have three straight draws and now are seven points adrift of the third spot behind Mezőkövesd.  They were fortunate to earn a late draw against Diósgyőr on a questionable offside goal by goalkeeper Lajos Hegedűs.  In a match of two sides going in opposite directions, I will play the odds and call for a draw as I can’t see a Paks victory or Puskás playing up to their capabilities.

Prediction: Paks 1-1 Puskás

Kisvárda vs Kaposvár

Várkerti Stadion, Kisvárda (17:00)

Chris: Tamás Bódog returns to NBI as Kisvárda’s new manager, a couple of years after being sacked by Diósgyőr.  It appears his language skills and his experience as professional director with DVTK as well.  Kisvárda are having trouble putting the ball int the back of the net, and will need Gheorghe Grozav to start scoring again.  Grozav leads the team with 7 goals but has only scored once in their last ten league matches. Bódog will have a full squad to choose from as Bohdan Melnyk returns from suspension this week.  The big question is, “where is Anton Kravchenko?”  Easily one of the best performers in the fall, Kravchenko has only been on the bench so far since the break. 

Kaposvár looked really good for the first five minutes against Paks on Wednesday and should have scored twice in the first ten minutes, but they missed glorious opportunities and went on to fall hard against Paks - their 10th match this season without scoring.  Nothing points to any hope of a result here.

Prediction: Kisvárda 2-0 Kaposvár

Paul: Welcome back to Hungarian football, Tamás Bódog!  I think this will prove to be a great signing for a club with more than usual player and manager movement.  Bódog burnt a few bridges during his tenure at Diósgyőr but I do believe in second chances and hopefully this one will succeed for him and the club alike.  Kisvárda has lost their last two home matches but those were against the current top two NBI sides. This match should be a victory in Mr. Bódog’s home debut.

After a promising start to 2020, Kaposvár find themselves back to business as usual in losing their last two matches by a total of 5 goals.  They have won only once in nine home matches and I can’t see that form changing. Kaposvár now are 11 points from the 10th spot and the relegation hole is becoming deeper by the week.  I’m sure Chris can crunch the numbers when they are officially relegated.

Prediction: Kisvárda 3-0 Kaposvár

Honvéd vs Zalaegerszeg

Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest (17:00)

Chris: Honvéd were let off the hook against Ferencváros as they were the beneficiary of a couple of questionable calls inside the penalty box on Wednesday.  Davide Lanzafame’s return to the lineup was hardly noticed and Giuseppe Sannino’s strategy of playing for a point somehow worked.  Nasir Aliji and Eke Uzoma return to the lineup, but their biggest need is finishing their chances. Honvéd have scored just one goal in their last four games and two in their last six.

ZTE continue to play well despite not getting the results.  Eduvie Ikoba finally broke through again to earn a midweek draw but it’s not good enough for a side drifting further away from the line.  Center back David Bobál is suspended which leaves a big hole in their defense.  Bobál has been a fixture all season and that leaves the door open for János Szépe to make his second start in a row. Barna Dobos continues rotate his forwards in hopes of finding one who will claim the striker role outright.  András Radó has yet to click since the break - perhaps this will be his time.

Prediction: Honvéd 3-1 ZTE

Paul: Honvéd have not won in their last five matches and have been reeling in the New Year.   Their lack of winter activity is showing. The goals are not coming and they have turned into a staunch defensive club with little to no firepower.  Even Lanzafame has gone quiet in the goal scoring department. Are they ripe for defeat?

What has happened to Zalaegerszeg?   I am losing belief in this club in the new year.  I am making a last stand and predicting an upset victory.   This makes no sense (as do most of my predictions). “Upset of the week” for the boys of Zalaegerszeg and the start of turning their season around in an effort remain in the NBI

Prediction: Honvéd 1-2 ZTE

Diósgyőr vs Debrecen

DVTK Stadion, Miskolc (17:00)

Chris: Diósgyőr have seen a renaissance since Tamás Feczkó has taken over.  They were two minutes from starting the spring with three consecutive victories before a late leveler from ten-man Puskás stole the show.  Even so, Diósgyőr have been impressive and are arguably one of the better teams after the winter break so far.  Márk Tamás is suspended and this would be a great time for the return of Dejan Karan in their defense.  The team captain hasn’t played yet this spring after signing a contract extension over the holidays.

Debrecen’s second half equalizer against Fehérvár on Wednesday was a bit fortuitous in a back-and-forth affair at Nagyerdei Stadion.  Zoltán Vitelki has three games under his belt as the club’s new manager and hasn’t tasted defeat yet.  A month ago one might have guessed that Diósgyőr would have been their easiest opponent in the opening four matches of the spring, but that’s not the case here.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 2-1 Debrecen

Paul: Diósgyőr deserved a road victory last weekend against Puskás.  Their turnaround has been amazing.  It is a bit unusual to see them in the fifth spot in the standings but it is well earned.  This is one of the main Eastern Hungarian derbies and usually Debrecen are the favorites. In truth, there aren’t many Eastern Hungarian derbies. The easy choice is to take the home team and while that sounds a bit too easy, I shall do it.

Debrecen has played much better in the new year and that can be attributed to the return of their best player, Ádám Bódi.   Loki has a good track record against their fellow opponents from the east but a draw should be the best they could hope for in Miskolc.  More likely is a defeat from a side that is playing very, very well.

Prediction: Diósgyőr 1-0 Debrecen

NBI Round 17 Preview

Welcome back NBI fans! We're back in full swing at Hungarianfootball.com to bring you all the latest news, previews and predictions ahead of each match day throughout the season. After only a five-week winter break this year, the teams have returned from their training camps across the continent refreshed and recharged (some more than others) to take on the spring season. An updated list of each team's winter transfers can be found here.

With just the league to concentrate on this spring, it's no surprise that Ferencváros are favorites to claim a second straight title in May, but there's a dwindling clutch of teams that might make things more difficult for them as the season progresses. There's always a surprise or two to look forward to as the second half brings out even more uncertainty with the pressure of a ticking clock bringing out the best (and worst) in players.

Saturday, 25 January

Ferencváros vs Paks

Groupama Arena, Budapest (14:55)

Chris: Ferencváros returned from training camp in Spain this week where manager Sergei Rebrov introduced three new midfielders to increase competition in an already solid midfield.  With nothing but the league to play for, Fradi are locked and loaded into retaining the title.  Somália returns to the club after a four-year hiatus plying his trade in France and Saudi Arabia. The Brazilian midfielder played from 2011-15 for Fradi. He’s been training apart from the team and will not be ready to play this week. However, Gastón Lódico (on loan from Lanús) and Bálint Vécsei (from Lugano) are here to provide competition for Daniel Ihnatenko and Ihor Kharatin.  Also, both Kenneth Otigba and Lasha Dvali are lining up to return from long, injury layoffs. 

Paks saw the return of midfielder Lajos Bertus over the winter break, while Mohamed Remili’s first-team appearances in the fall didn’t do enough to keep him at the club.  With key defender Attila Osváth suspended for this one, Paks will be short-handed against a rested and motivated Fradi side.   Dániel Böde returns to the Groupama for the first time since his move last summer and I'm sure he'll be motivated to make an impact, but it's more likely he'll get sent off than do something positive. I can't see any other winner here.

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-1 Paks

Paul: Ferencváros kept their squad together which I think is a major achievement.  Somalia promised he would be back in the squad and here he is, but reports say he won’t play here.   I have never seen Bálint Vécsei but he sure looks good on paper.  Fradi get back to business and start 2020 off in proper fashion.   Side note, the match starts at 5:55 am Pacific time. Does 555 have some significance in Hungary?  No party for me.

The winter break did not come at a good time for Paks as they won their final two matches before the Winter break.  They had some movement of some past players returning. I will miss Mohammed Remili who I always thought deserved more play and who takes his skill set to the  Lake Balaton with Siófok in the NBII.  Paks did defeat Fehérvár recently  but another scalp of the top side in Hungary is too much to ask of any NBI side.

Prediction: Ferencváros 2-0 Paks

MOL Fehérvár vs Honvéd

MOL Sóstó Aréna, Székesfehérvár (17:00)

Chris: Fehérvár returned from their training camp in Marbella on Sunday and have been preparing to incorporate French midfielder Lyes Houri into their midfield.  Houri comes from Romanian side FC Viitorul where he was under the tutelage of Gheorghe Hagi over the last year. With little other movement, Fehérvár manager Joan Carillo feels that he still has a team to compete for the title.

Honvéd are back from their training camp in Turkey and have said goodbye to world traveler Krisztián Vadócz who moved on to Uruguay to play under Diego Forlan at Peñarol.  Patrik Hidi will mark his return to the club, and the addition of Mayron George from Denmark is in hope that he can add a bit more firepower up front.  George scored 22 goals in 93 matches in the Danish league.  Goalkeeper Rubi Levkovic and defender Mohamed Mezghrani are still rehabilitating from long injuries for Kispest. I can't believe David N'Gog still has a contract at the club.

Prediction: Fehérvár 1-1 Honvéd

Paul: Fehérvár hope to regain the great form they had at the start of the 2019 season.  New manager Jaon Carillo had some time to work with the team and hopefully this will result in positive results.  After three straight surprsing home losses, Fehérvár need to regain their form pronto or else Ferencváros will be popping open the champagne early in 2020! 

Honvéd find themselves in their usual position of competing for a Europa League spot.  They have been very inconsident this season along with their flamboyant Italian manager Giuseppe Sannino. They are an excitng side to watch for their play and Saninno’s passion.  Patrik Hidi is back after travels to Spain and Kazahsktan. We say goodbye to Krisztián Vadócz who leave abroad to Uruguay adding to his resume of foreign clubs.

Prediction: Fehérvár 2-1 Honvéd

Mezőkövesd vs Kisvárda

Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd (17:00)

Chris: Mezőkövesd manager Attila Molnár beefed up his squad this winter with a few players from the Balkans. Marin Jurina is the latest signing - a forward who scored 8 goals in 16 games for Zenica in the Prva Liga in the fall season.  Jurina joins Budu Zivzivadze in attack supported by the very capable trio of Tamás Cseri, Aliaksandr Karnitski, and Zsombor Berecz. Last season's standout Gábor Molnár found it difficult to break into the squad and moved to Diósgyor.  Midfielder Dino Besirovic comes on loan from Hajduk but is a relatively unknown player. 

There were a lot of changes at Kisvárda over the break as Felipe and Anderson Pico were released.  Portuguese forward Hugo Seco found his way back home as well, returning to Portugal to play for Farense.  David Dombo brings a bit of experience at goalkeeper as he was Mezőkövesd’s former number one keeper at the start of last season.  With captain Lucas suspended and Felipe out of the picture it will take some time for Kisvárda to get going this spring.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 2-0 Kisvárda

Paul: Full disclosure, I am rooting for this small club from North Eastern Hungary  to make the Europa League. They will battle Puskás for European play unless they can win the Hungarian Cup.  Richárd Guzmicsis is back in Hungary after seasons in Poland, China, and Slovakia.  He will head in the game winner in the final minutes to win for the home side.

I sure would like goalkeeper Felipe to return to Hungary as he himself is worth watching a match!  Ex-Mezőkövesd goalkeeper, Dávid Dombó joins the side. Should he regain his form from a few years ago, he could be a serviceable replacement.   Gheorghe Grozav is still here and the club were active in the winter transfer window.  It’s refreshing to see them attempting to be a stable mid-table side.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 1-0 Kisvárda

Zalaegerszeg vs Diósgyőr

ZTE Aréna, Zalaegerszeg (17:00)

Chris: Barnas Dobos has added some strength a squad that impressed most of us in the fall, staying well within touching distance of safety through December and scoring goals in the process.  Eric McWoods is the second American signing for Dobos after bringing on Eduvie Ikoba at the start of the season. Both bring strength and pace to an attack that has been fun to watch.  Stjepan Ostrek is a technical forward from NK Nafta in Slovenia who will be counted upon to create and help ZTE finish the numerous chances they squandered in the fall. Dobos also unloaded a number of players and brought in Cypriot midfielder Fanos Katelaris to upgrade.

Tamás Féczkó plucked talented playmaker Gábor Molnár from Mezőkövesd and signed two forwards to address Diósgyőr's attacking woes.  Molnár is playing for his hometown club and is excited to return to Miskolc.  Féczkó showed the door to a few players brought in by his predecessor, and has begun in earnest to make this his team.  Suspended midfielder Bence Iszlai’s absence will felt as he had become a consistently solid performer in DVTK’s squad in the fall.

Prediction: ZTE 1-0 Diósgyőr

Paul: This is the time for Zalaegerszeg to show that they belong in the NBI.  No better time to start NOW than a home match against another club fighting to stay up in the first division.   ZTE were busy in the transfer market in bringing in another American player, Eric McWoods plus a few possible quality foreigners on loan.  The mid-table march starts today.

Diósgyőr have made some great progress since the arrival of Tamás Feczkó.  The club added some depth to the team along with Tamas Kiss on loan from Puskás.  Only a few years ago, Kiss was an up and coming younster after his masterful goal for Haladás  against Ferencváros.  He still has great potential and for a side lacking offensive punch, he should be given every chance to play and shine.

Prediction: ZTE 1-0 Diósgyőr

Kaposvár vs Puskás Akadémia

Rákóczi Stadion, Kaposvár (17:00)

Chris: Kaposvár beefed up depth level midfield players and some defense with their signings over the winter but they’ll be missing the suspended Martin Ádám in this game.  Ádám is suspended for yellow card accumulation and the team’s leading scorer will be difficult to replace. 

Puskás will be without two of their key players for their trip to Kaposvár.  Both Josip Knezevic and Kamen Hadzhiev are suspended this week.  The biggest surprise for the club over the break, however, came this week with departure of leading scorer Ezekiel Henty to Slovan Bratislava.  The club was able to lure forward Luciano Slagveer from Dutch side Emmen - the 26 year-old had scored two goals and two assists in nine Eredivisie matches. This could be a tricky game for the visitors and I wouldn’t put it past Kaposvár to pinch a point here.

Prediction: Kaposvár 1-1 Puskás

Paul: I’ve got a feeling on this one.  Kaposvár showed with their year ending win against Debrecen that they have some fight left in them.  They will surprise at home and not go down to NBII without a fight. “Upset of the Week.”

I may be the only person on record, but I am sad to see Ezekiel Henty leave Hungary.  Perhaps it is the educator in me who is big on second chances? It is unfortuate as Henty was developing a good rapport with manager,  Zsolt Hornyák. The side added even more foreign players to the club. Chemistry may be an issue for this club as it may take some time for the manager to regain the chemisty of the 1st half of the season. Puskás  are ripe for defeat.

Prediction: Kaposvár 3-2 Puskás

Debrecen vs Újpest

Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen (19:00)

Chris: Debrecen have made no significant squad moves during the winter break.  Manager András Herczeg stepped down after a disappointing fall season and was replaced by Zoltán Vitelki who has just two short stints of being caretaker manager for Diósgyőr in the past.  With team captain Dániel Tőzsér out for the foreseeable future (ankle surgery) it seems like it’s going to be a long road back for Loki.

Újpest ownership continues to be a raging dumpster fire and the inability to sign forward Robert Feczesin to a longer contract means more changes at the club.  Soma Novothny returns from his year-long loan in Korea, but the addition of Patrik Bacsa and winger Andreias Calcan from Viitorul means it’s possible that Soma will sit.  There are rumors that more players are on their way out which must be disheartening for manager Nebojša Vignjevic who continues playing a shell-game with squad he has no control over.

Prediction: Debrecen 2-2 Újpest

Paul: Congratulation to András Herczeg on a great managerial career.   It is wonderful that he is staying on at the club to work at the youth level.   He is a great manager and the first team will miss him greatly. His replacement was not among my first 50 choices as manager but hopefully will prove to be successful.  The vanilla match of the day. Will any goals be scored here?

Are Újpest throwing in the towel?  A white flag? Soma Novothney is back after his stint in Vietname but the Lilak were in Winter hibernation during the break.  Vasas seems keen to pillage the club in their quest for NBI football. One has to feel terrible for the predicament of manager, Nebojša Vignjević, who deserves so much better.

Prediction: Debrecen 1-1 Újpest