Hoffenheim failed to be more creative last time out away against Union Berlin when they suffered a close 2:1 loss, probably deserving at least a draw in my opinion.
They took the lead in the 16th after the opposing side misfortunately scored its own goal, but failed to continue with the momentum, and allowed the hosts to equalize in the 22nd, and completely reverse with another one in the last twenty minutes, but it has to be said that the visitors were dangerous on several occasions during the second, and maybe deserved more in this one.
Overly looking, Hoffenheim is doing a good job this season, as they are currently at the 4th spot in the rankings, and have every reason to approach this DFB Pokal clash with high expectations.
Midfielder Samassekou (13/2) is away on international duty. Out are also defender Kaderabek (9/1), midfielders Gacinovic (4/0), Grillitsch (12/0), forwards John (1/0), and Skov (6/0).
Brighton barely managed to pull out a 1:1 draw in their last appearance at home against slightly underestimated Crystal Palace, definitely having a huge dose of fortune on their side here.
They missed a penalty in the 38th and were punished later in the 69th when they found themselves in a 0:1 deficit. However, a piece of luck played a certain role in their escape from a defeat, as they managed to equalize in the last minutes after a misfortunate own goal scored by the opposing side, as mentioned, narrowly taking a point in this clash.
Brighton is currently at the 9th spot in the general rankings, being seven points in deficit compared to the European-placed Arsenal.
Goalkeeper Steele (1/0), midfielders Mwepu (11/1), Bissouma (14/0), and forward Sarmiento (2/0) are out. Central defender Dunk (14/0) and offensive midfielder Lallana (18/0) are doubtful for the moment.
Fiorentina made quite an appearance last time out in Copa Italia when they won over favorites from Napoli and booked their ticket for the next phase of the competition.
In a pretty dynamic clash, in which we have seen it all from goals to rough behavior, the Violas gained a slight advantage at the end. In the regular part, the result was 2:2, as the guests, unfortunately, conceded an equalizer just before the full-time whistle.
Still, they entered an extra time with a numerical advantage on the field, as they had ten players on their disposal compared to Napoli which had nine, and used it in the best way possible, scoring as many as three in the continuation providing their fans with many reasons to celebrate.
In Serie A campaign, Fiorentina holds the 7th spot in the rankings, having three points less than European-placed Lazio.
Defensive midfielder Amrabat (11/0) is on international duty, while injured remain central defender Quarta (14/1) and midfielder Benassi (6/0), with forward Sottil (13/2) being doubtful.
Marseille did just enough in the last round on the road against underdogs from Bordeaux when they performed slightly more creatively and recorded a victory with a minimal result.
They were on the offensive since the begging and successfully scored over Under back in the 37th, probably deserving a more convincing one, as their appearance was visibly better.
Marseille is positioned at the 3rd spot in Ligue 1 standings, having three points less than second-placed Nice.
The hosts miss defensive midfielder Gueye (15/0) and forward Dieng (14/4) due to AFCON. Goalkeeper Mandada (4/0) won’t play, as well as central-back Gonzalez (6/0). Midfielder Gerson (17/3) and forward Milik (11/1) are doubtful.
Sampdoria suffered an expected loss in their last trip to Napoli when they were outplayed by their hosts with a close 1:0 result.
They were completely pushed back from the start and conceded the only one in this clash over Petagna back in the 43rd, definitely been lucky to a certain degree, as their defeat could potentially be much more convincing.
Sampdoria is positioned at the 15th spot in the Serie A standings, having four points more than relegation-placed Cagliari.
Goalkeeper Audero (20/0) is out injured now, as they also miss defender Colley (18/0). Midfielder Damsgaard (7/0), forward Verre (11/0), and defender Yoshida (18/2) are doubtful.
Surprised to see Freiburg so high on the table, with 30 points from 18 matches and 4th position in the table. In the reverse fixture earlier on the season Freiburg won 2 – 1 with the second-half goal from Sallai. The biggest miss for the team might be Nico Schlotterbeck who hasn’t trained lately due to covid 19 so he lacks match fitness, other than that most likely no big changes.
Dortmund has been great at home, with 8 wins and only 1 loss against Bayern. Akanji has returned to training but most likely he will not take part in this game yet, so Dortmund needs to pair once again Hummels and Can in the central defense. This sounds scary enough already as I think they both are so unstable and prone to errors. Raphael Guerreiro also will miss out on the game, other than that all of the Dortmunds attacking forces are ready to go and terrorize Freiburg’s defense.
Napoli is coming to this Coppa Italia clash after meeting the expectations in their last Serie A appearance at home against underdogs from Sampdoria when they did just enough to record a close 1:0 victory.
Generally speaking, they were a dominant side from the start, but only managed to be effective once over Petagna in the late phase of the first part, definitely not using their overall better appearance to its full potential in this one.
Napoli is showing signs of form decrease lately, as they lost their top spot in the rankings, currently being 3rd, having six points less compared to the leaders from Inter.
Defender Koulibaly (14/2), midfielders Zambo Anguissa (14/0), and Ounas (10/0) are away on international duty. Forward Ingigne (17/4) is out, while positive recently were goalkeeper Meret (2/0), defenders Malcuit (5/0), Rui (18/0), offensive midfielder Zielinski (19/5), and forward Lozano (19/2).
Rio Ave made its way to this stage of Taca de Portugal after a close victory last time out at home against Belenenses when they were slightly more concentrated in the penalty shootout.
In the regular part, both squads managed to be effective once, but as mentioned, Rio Ave proved to be a bit sharper after penalties and booked their ticket for the quarter-finals of the campaign.
Right-back Junio is a long-term absentee without playing so far, while forward Pereira (1/0) is unlikely to play, coming slowly off from injury.
Tondela is coming to this clash after a decent appearance last time out in Liga Portugal on the road against slightly favored Boavista when they managed to take a point in a 1:1 draw.
Premier League action continues for Southampton which is currently holding the 14th spot in the general rankings, at a safe distance from a danger zone, as they have ten points more than relegation-worried Burnley.
They did a decent job in their latest appearance away against Tottenham when they managed to take a point in a 1:1 draw, definitely deserving a bit more in this clash in my opinion.
Southampton boosted their morale even more last weekend when they booked their ticket for further progress in FA Cup when they outplayed Swansea with a 3:2 result after an extra time, and are surely eager to start their 2022 Premier League campaign in the best way possible.
Defender Valery (1/0) is suspended, while the Saints miss goalkeeper McCarthy (15/0), defenders Walker-Peters (15/0), Livramento (18/1), midfielders Djenepo (8/0) and Smallbone (1/0).
Senegal had no problems reaching the World Cup qualifiers play-off stage, ending the group path with five victories and just a draw away to Togo in the fifth round when they already secured the first position.
Other rivals were Namibia and Congo, as Senegalese showed their domination all over the group and are definitely not only one of the AFCON favorites, but it would be really a shame not to see them in Qatar too, being one of the emerging African football nations currently.
Their last defeat goes back to late 2020 when they suffered a 3:1 loss to Morocco and such a run speaks for itself.
Forward Sarr (40/9) is injured, while covid outbreak in the squad means that central defender Koulibaly (53/0, Napoli) and goalkeeper Mendy (16/0, Chelsea) miss out. Forwards Diedhiou (18/9, Alanyaspor), Thiam (3/0, Kayserispor), Dieng (3/0, Marseille), offensive midfielder Sarr (4/0, Metz), midfielder Mendy (8/0, Leicester), and left-back Ciss (29/0, Nancy) should miss out for the same reason too.