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Debrecen still the team to beat in Hungary

Published: Friday 27 July 2012, 10.24CET
Hungary's top-flight teams will look to make the going a lot tougher for Debreceni VSC as the new season kicks off, with the champions unbeaten in the league in 2011/12.
by Matthew Watson-Broughton
from Budapest
Debrecen still the team to beat in Hungary
Adamo Coulibaly's goals have been crucial to Debrecen's success ©AFP/Getty Images
Published: Friday 27 July 2012, 10.24CET

Debrecen still the team to beat in Hungary

Hungary's top-flight teams will look to make the going a lot tougher for Debreceni VSC as the new season kicks off, with the champions unbeaten in the league in 2011/12.

Reigning champions Debreceni VSC will be the team to beat in Hungary this season, although it is unlikely it will be as straightforward as 2011/12 when they took the title unbeaten, never looked in danger and led the table from start to finish.

After winning the title, coach Kondás Elemér said: "There is always a need for a prolific goalscorer and as of now we are not looking so much to sign new squad players, but more to add players who will immediately take a place in the starting lineup." He achieved that aim by bringing back Senegalese striker Ibrahima Sidibe from a four-year spell in Belgium. The 31-year-old scored 32 league goals in his first two-and-a-half season stint at Debrecen.

Key to any further success, however, will be holding on to Hungary midfielder József Varga, captain Péter Szakály and Adamo Coulibaly, the French forward who has scored 48 league goals in three seasons in the NB I.

Videoton FC will look to lead the resistance against Debrecen. Champions in 2010/11, Vidi took time to settle under new coach Paulo Sousa last season, a shaky start seeing them languishing in mid-table at the end of September. Nemanja Nikolić's 19 goals offset the January loss of André Alves however, and with a settled squad bolstered by the arrivals of defenders Adrián Szekeres and Ianique Stopira, the Szekesfehervar club should make a good fight of it this year.

Third last season, Attila Pintér's Győri ETO FC will be outside challengers to the two favourites, while Diósgyőri VTK – with new coach Tibor Sisa and summer signings including former Videoton players Ákos Elek and András Gosztonyi – look like a good bet to improve on their seventh place last season on their return to the top flight.

Wholesale changes have also been made by Lajos Détári's Ferencvárosi TC, who finished 11th last season after struggling for goals, and they will look to lead the capital's slender challenge for the title. Promoted last season, MTK Budapest might aim higher than a mid-table finish if they can hold on to midfielder József Kanta and forward János Lázok. New owners at Újpest FC have addressed the club's finances, but the 'Lilák' will pin their hopes on youngsters for another season, while Budapest Honvéd FC will do well to repeat last season's fourth-placed finish.

The title has now remained outside Budapest for four seasons, with the runners-up in each of those campaigns also from the provinces.

Last updated: 27/07/12 11.07CET

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