Hungary OTP Bank Liga Bitcoin Sports Betting

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The Nemzeti Bajnokság I or NBI, currently called OTP Bank Liga, is the highest level professional football championship in Hungary since its creation in 1901.

Twelve teams compete in round-trip matches. Until the 2014-2015 season, the championship had sixteen teams, but the end of the season was marked by numerous downgrades. One of the direct consequences of these demotions is the change in the number of teams and the addition of a third game between them.

At the end of the season, the champion qualifies for the preliminary rounds of the UEFA Champions League, while the second and winner of the Hungarian Cup advance to the Europa League. The last two in the championship are relegated to NB II and replaced by the first two in this second division championship. In 2016, UEFA ranked the league 33rd in the European leagues.

The beginnings dominated by Ferencváros and MTK

Since its foundation on 19 January 1901, the Hungarian Football Federation has organised a football championship, the Nemzeti Bajnokság I. The first edition brings together five teams from Budapest. The first match is between Budapest TC and Budapest SC. The other three clubs are Ferencváros TC, Magyar Úszóegylet and MAFC, which is not finishing the competition. Budapest TC, the first champion with eight wins in as many games, retained its title the following year.

The 1900s and 1910s were largely dominated by Ferencváros, whose only opponent was Magyar Testgyakorlók Köre, champion in 1904, 1908 and 1914. Ferencváros striker Imre Schlosser-Lakatos is several times the competition’s top scorer. The First World War and the transfer of Schlosser saw the domination reversed: the MTK of Budapest won ten titles in a row from 1915 to 1925. Ferencváros won three consecutive titles following MTK. Each club then had its star: József Takács in Ferencváros and György Orth at MTK, renamed Hungária FC in 1926.

First European confrontations

In 1927, the first Mitropa Cup was held, a cup between the best clubs in Central Europe. MTK and Újpest FC, a Budapest club that emerged at the highest Hungarian level, were eliminated in the semi-finals and quarter-finals.

The 1930s saw Újpest take over the historic duo. In 1930, he won his first Hungarian championship, the first to escape Ferencváros and MTK in almost 30 years. The duo became a trio, with the three clubs taking turns winning the title. György Sárosi de Ferencváros, Gyula Zsengellér d’Újpest and László Cseh d’Hungária are the major players of the moment. Ferencváros won the Mitropa Cup in 1928 and 1937, Újpest in 1929 and 1939.

The competition continued during the years of the Second World War, with new clubs emerging at the top of the league. Csepel, founded in 1912, was champion in 1942, 1943 and 1948; Nagyváradi AC in 1944. The latter is based in Transylvania, a territory initially lost to Romania during the Trianon Treaty in 1920 and then recovered by Hungary between 1940 and 1947. He won the Romanian championship in 1949 as Libertatea Oradea. In the years following the end of the fighting, Újpest and Ferencváros regained their domination.

The golden age of the Hungarian championship

In 1949 Hungary adopted a communist regime. The early 1950s saw the emergence of a new giant: Budapest Honvéd, formerly Kispest, just taken over and renamed by the Ministry of Defence. It has several members of the future “Hungarian Golden Eleven”, Olympic champion and world vice-champion in 1954: Ferenc Puskás, József Bozsik, Zoltán Czibor and László Budai. Honvéd won the championship in 1950 (twice), 1952, 1954 and 1955. The 1956 championship, which he dominated, was interrupted by the Budapest uprising. The club did not return and toured the world, with its best players soon joining Spain.

This period was marked by the birth of the European cups. The former MTK, now known as Voros Lobogos, reached the quarter-finals of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup 1955-1956 (Honved, although the defending champion, left the qualification for this competition to his rival), Vasas SC, champion in the spring of 1957, the semi-finals two years later.

Vasas emerged as the great club of the moment, winning the league in 1957, 1961, 1962, 1965 and 1966 and the Mitropa Cup in 1956, 1957, 1960, 1962 and 1965. Ferencváros, led by Flórián Albert, winner of the Golden Ball in 1967, won the championship in 1963, 1964, 1967 and 1968 and the European Cup of Fair Cities in 1965 against Juventus in Turin. Hungarian clubs multiplied their successes in the European Cup: MTK reached the final of the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1964, Ferencváros and Újpest that of the Coupe des villes de foires in 1968 and 1969. A newcomer, Győri Vasas ETO, promoted to first division in 1960 and surprise champion in the autumn of 1963, was only eliminated in the semi-finals of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup 1964-1965.

The national team took advantage of this excitement to win the gold medal at the 1964 Olympic Games, reach third place at the 1960 Olympic Games and the 1964 Euro and participate in the 1962 and 1966 World Cups.

Dominations of Újpest and Honvéd

The 1970s were marked by the domination of Újpest, led by Lajos Baróti. In 1974, the club reached the semi-finals of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup, where it was beaten by Bayern Munich. In attack, he can count on the talents of Bene (several times the league’s top scorer), Fazekas, Göröcs, Dunai II and Zámbó. In ten seasons, Újpest lost only four times at home. Töröcsik and Fekete take over the field, and Pál Várhidi on the bench.

In 1982 and 1983, Győr won the championship, a first in peacetime for an outdoor club in Budapest. But it was Honved who dominated the rest of the decade, launched by the 1980 title won by the men of Lajos Tichy, his former star. Detári, Kovács, Illés and Halmai offered the club seven titles between 1984 and 1993. If Honveda failed on the continental stage, Újpest and Videoton would go on to win two European epics, respectively until the quarter-finals of the Cup of Nations in 1984 and the UEFA Cup final in 1985 (where they were defeated by Real Madrid). This final is the last continental achievement of a representative of the Hungarian league. The Hungarian team qualified for the 1982 and 1986 World Cups, a performance that was never achieved again.

The fall

With the fall of communism in Hungary, clubs lost state support and found themselves in financial difficulty, especially as costs in football exploded following the Bosman ruling, handicapping Hungarian clubs on the European scene. However, the 1990s are still dominated on the national scene by the former clubs: Ferencváros, MTK and Újpest. In 1994, Váci FC, led by János Csank, created a surprise by winning the championship. A symbol of Hungary’s decline in Europe, Ferencváros only managed to qualify for the Champions League pools in 1995-1996, after defeating Anderlecht of Belgium in the preliminary round. And he only won one of his six games there.

The 2000s marked a turning point for the Hungarian league, which saw the end of Budapest’s club domination and the emergence of new teams: Dunaújváros and Zalaegerszeg were champions in 2000 and 2002, Debrecen dominated the second half of the decade. In 2009-2010, he also managed to qualify for the Champions League, fourteen years after Ferencváros. As the Oláh Gábor utca stadium does not meet UEFA standards, the club must organise its matches at the Ferenc-Puskás Stadium in Budapest.

In order to help improve results on the continental scene, the Hungarian government decided at the end of the 2000s to help the country’s main clubs (Videoton, Debrecen and Győr, the three main teams of the 2000s, as well as Ferencváros), which triggered controversy