As Győri ETO FC and Debreceni VSC prepare for UEFA Cup action this week, Hungarian champions MTK Budapest have reason to be fearful for their European start.
Booked to start their UEFA Champions League campaign in the second qualifying round, MTK could hardly have been handed a tougher first fixture, meeting Turkish giants Fenerbahçe SK over two legs. Thanks in no small part to the stream of talent emerging from their Sándor Károly youth academy, MTK claimed a 23rd Hungarian title last season, but their hopes of making a splash in Europe have taken a blow with a trip to Istanbul looming on 29/30 August.
MTK remain largely unchanged from last season, save for the arrival of 22-year-old midfielder Gábor Nagy from Szombathely-based Haladás VSE, but may be without 24-year-old playmaker Jószef Kanta. Coach Jószef Garami said: "We had an almost perfect training camp before our game against Fenerbahçe until Kanta was injured in our third friendly match, against FC Kärnten. We do not know the exact diagnosis yet but I have a bad feelings he will be out of the team."
Before they face Fenerbahçe, MTK will meet Debrecen in the Hungarian Super Cup final on 20 July. Hungarian Cup winners and NB I runners-up Debrecen have sold their top striker, Cameroonian Dorge Kouemaha, to German side MSV Duisburg for €775,000, but they remain strong. Having signed 25-year-old midfielder Zoltán Varga from REAC Rákospalotai and 19-year-old forward Milán Faggyas from Diósgyőri BFC, they will provide FC Shakhtyor Karagandy with stiff competition in the UEFA Cup first qualifying round on Thursday.
While Debrecen kick off their tie in Kazakhstan, Győr will make their belated return to European action at home against Georgia's FC Zestaponi. The Raba-based side were last in the UEFA Cup in 1986/87, and coach Sándor Egervári hopes they can make up for lost time on Thursday. He has made no major changes to the side that finished third in the NB I last season, but the arrival of 34-year-old former Hungary striker Zoltán Kovács from Újpest FC should prove an inspiration for their young players at the renovated Stadion ETO.
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