They might not be seen as this now but Hungary was once considered a major power in world football. The Mighty Magyars dominated European football for much of the 1950s and 1960s making it a natural haven for many top players. Over the past few decades, this label has disappeared but things could soon be changing. Many Hungarian clubs are looking stronger and healthier now than they have done for many years suggesting a resurgence could soon be on the cards. But who are the most successful sides in Hungarian football?
For most of the 2000s, very few sides were able to stop Debrecen from taking title after title. Based in Hungary’s second city, Debrecen surged to titles throughout both the 2000s and the 2010s. Claiming their first title in 2005, they would win the NB I title 7 times in 10 years including three straight titles from 2004-2007. This saw them reach international fame in 2009 when they became the first Hungarian side to reach the group stages of the Champions League getting drawn in a group including the likes of Liverpool and Lyon. They would lose all 6 games in the competition but reaching that level showcased just how strong the side were at the time. A level that few teams from Hungary have been able to achieve since.
For FC Honved, they are a side that has rode through peaks over many decades to enjoy success. This started as early as 1950 when they claimed their first league title. This would be thanks to many of Hungary’s top stars in the side including the likes of Ferenc Puskas, Sandor Kocsis and Zoltan Czibor to rely upon. After winning 3 titles in the 50s, Honved’s next golden era would have to wait until the 1980s. It was here where they won 7 titles in between 1983 and 1993 including three straight from 1983-1986. Their success hasn’t escaped in recent years either as a NB I title in 2017 proved that the side are still capable of delivering titles in the modern era of football.
One of Hungary’s oldest sides, FC Ujpest are a team that almost always competed in the top flight of Hungarian football. This excellent record has also seen the side win its fair share of titles too – 20 to be precise. Most of these have come in decades gone by but none more so than in the 1970s. Ujpest dominated the NB1 then claiming all but two titles in that decade. This run included a continuous streak of seven straight titles from 1969-1975. During this time, it saw Ujpest shine on the continental stage too reaching the last four of the European Cup in 1974 before getting knocked out by Bayern Munich. It’s a legacy that serves the club proud in NB I right to the present day.
Historically, almost no other team have been able to match MTK Budapest for success in Hungary over the years. MTK dominated the early years of Hungarian football winning dozens of league titles throughout the 1910s and 1920s. Indeed, MTK won nine straight titles from 1916-1925. It would be over half a century before the club enjoyed rapid success once again. In the 1990s and 2000s, MTK would once again be successful claiming 4 titles over the turn of the century. It is this repeated form that made MTK one of the top sides in Hungarian football.
There is no side in Hungary more synonymous with football than Ferencvaros. One of the top sides in Budapest, Ferencvaros have always been in and around the title hunt. The club first claimed a national title in 1903 and have succeeded to win at least one title every decade since apart from the 1950s. Their best run came in the 1920s claiming three titles from 1925-1928. However, they repeated this form well into the modern day having claimed 3 straight NB I titles from 2019-2021. They have also shone on the continental scene winning the European Fairs Cup – known now as the Europa League- in 1965 as well as finishing runners up in 1968. This has made them the only Hungarian side to win European silverware and, along with their 32 national titles, makes them the most successful side ever in Hungarian football.