By any standards, a haul of seven domestic trophies in the space of four years rates as an impressive performance. Hungarian top flight outfit Debreceni Vasutas SC (Debreceni Railway Sports Club) have earned that distinction with three championships, a cup triumph and three supercup victories between 2005 and 2008.
The club from Debrecen, a city of 200,000 in the east of Hungary some 50km from the Romanian border, was founded back in 1902. On the back of their outstanding record over the last four seasons, Debreceni appear poised to cement a position among the giants of the Hungarian club scene, alongside established Budapest duo Ferencvaros and MTK Hungaria.
Solid finances, rejuvenated squad
Head coach Andras Herczeg highlights three fundamental reasons for his team's glittering run of success. "We have an extremely solid financial base, a number of talented players, and very experienced coaching staff," he explained to FIFA.com.
Loki, as the club is nicknamed, missed out on a hat-trick of domestic league titles by a whisker in 2007/08, but have roared back to the top of the standings this term and have set their sights on yet more silverware. "The team represents a new generation now and we’re very proud of our results so far. We’re aiming for a league and cup double this season," Herczeg declares.
Debreceni, promoted to the top flight in 1993, currently lead the Soproni Liga by three points from Ujpest. A major factor in their commanding position at the midpoint in the campaign has been outstanding form away from home, where they have amassed more points than any other club. They also boast a more than respectable home record at the 7,600 capacity Nagyerdei stadium.
Not that Debreceni have any intention of resting on their laurels. The players are acutely aware of their rivals' unstinting efforts to reel them in, as top scorer Rudolf Gergely made crystal clear in conversation with FIFA.com: "We’ve finished the first half of the season in top spot, and I’m delighted about that. What we want is to win the league again, but we have some serious rivals."
Sets still set high
Gergely, a summer 2007 arrival from Nancy, has scored nine of his side’s 33 league goals this season, but still feels he could make an even greater contribution. "I’m satisfied with my performances so far, but there are still a few areas for improvement. I need to be scoring more often," the Hungary international reflects. An addition to the national squad in 2008, he recognises the importance of returning to his country of birth from a stint abroad: "I worked hard on the basics while I was in France, but I wanted regular football, and that’s what I’ve got here in Debrecen."
Head coach Herczeg appreciates the enormity of the task in retaining stars such as his top goalscorer beyond the end of the current campaign. "If we want to get anywhere in Europe, we have to hold onto our most valuable players, but that’s basically impossible, as we simply don’t have the financial resources,” he admits. For the time being, the boss is concentrating on domestic success, laying down the gauntlet to potential championship rivals in no uncertain terms: "Over the long term, this club can become one of the very best in Hungary."
The second half of the domestic season opens on Friday. The leaders travel to face Zalaegerszeg TE, after registering a narrow 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture on opening day. The stage is set for another Debreceni gala in 2009.