So here we are, in Hungary. I’ve tried and tried to come up with amusing Hungary based quips but there’s really nothing. Apparently it’s where the Rubix cube was created, so there’s that? But on a serious footballing note, what once was something of a football powerhouse, the home of Puskas, is now most notably known as the home of Zoltan Gera. If that doesn’t make you feel bad for them nothing will. Hungary recently made their return on the national stage with a pretty encouraging performance at the Euros after not qualifying for a major tournament since 1984. Maybe Sylvan can lend a hand in their resurgence on the world stage! But short term, we need to keep Kozarmisleny in the second tier. So let’s get to work.
Preseason friendlies went well, ignoring our absolute sausage stuffing by Dinamo Moscow on our 3rd day on the job. It was slightly less than ideal that the rest of the games were against weaker teams so we couldn’t really gauge how well we were truly doing, but I guess it’s just another challenge of getting the job so late on. The two big performers from preseason to take a look at were striker Krisztián Kirchner (9 goals in 5 games) and right midfielder Márton Kiss (6 assists in 5 games).
Pretty decently rounded stats for a striker. Interestingly 13 heading for a 5’9 striker with unexceptional jumping and poor strength, so we’re going to claim he’s basically the Hungarian Griezmann (no pressure there then). His stamina is our only concern but we should be able to rotate enough to avoid this being too much of an issue.
Slightly less impressive mental attributes compared to Kirchner but very solid physically and good in all the areas you’d like your wingers to be while also having good marking/tackling which may become important if we look towards an uber trendy high pressing style where in the future. Kiss was subject to a transfer bid from a league rival shortly before the season started, but much like when the same thing happened last season at Rupel Boom we chose to turn it down. If we were blessed with the knowledge we could stay up without him, or had the scouting set up ready to earmark a younger/cheaper replacement for him we’d have likely cashed in, but for now, safety first.
The Season Begins
First up for Kozarmisleny is a home tie versus fellow promoted team Cigand. Misleny play pretty poorly and end up losing 3-1 despite initially taking the lead on 12 minutes after a Krisztián Kirchner header from a Márton Kiss cross. Well at least those two lived up to our estimations of them, but elsewhere things didn’t look great and we worry we could have a long season ahead of us. Next up is a 1-1 draw vs Dunaujvaros (if I eventually commit these team names to memory then this whole blog series has been worth it), this time taking the lead after an 8th minute cross from Márton Kiss is headed in by Krisztián Kirchner, jumping and strength are obviously overrated. Dunaujvaros’ equaliser comes from a pretty poor defensive error, so we’re at least given a little confidence that the team we’ve put together isn’t going to get hammered every week, which is nice.
Our star duo is rested in the first round of the cup vs 3rd tier Bolcske and the team perform pretty poorly but take the win 1-0 after a pretty tasty lofted through ball from centre mid Iflinger is headed into the top corner from the edge of the box by Granicz (taking on the Kirchner advanced forward role for the day). Following that we play title favourites Vasas and somehow come away with our first league win of the year 2-1! Two more assists for Kiss, a goal from Kirchner and they even involve Granicz for his first league goal of the campaign. Then comes a pretty uninteresting 1-1 draw with Csakvar, and a 2-2 draw with fellow newcomers ESMTK after leading 2-0 from a nice Norbert Iflinger brace.
Where We Stand
So after 5 league games Kozarmisleny sit in 14th, with a 1-3-1 record and have shown enough to give Sylvan confidence he might be able to hold onto a job for more than 12 months this time. Kiss, Kirchner, Granicz and Iflinger have looked a different class to the rest of the team so far which is equal parts promising and worrying. The defence in particular has struggled to perform so far, regardless of who it is starting there so we might have to contemplate tinkering with the system to try patch up their weaknesses if things don’t pick up soon. But the start has been promising considering we’ve had to patch together 50% of the squad in the space of 3 weeks with next to no player or league knowledge. The league has a two month break at the end of November (15 games in) so that’s when we’ll return for an update, hopefully with our heads above water in the league. We’ll also outline any transfer plans and any changes to our expectations if we’re taking the world by storm, but lets not hold our breath.