This promises to be an evenly fought Round of 16 tie that either side could win...
Sampdoria's start to the new year has been nowhere near 'happy'. With two defeats in three league matches in 2011 and just one win out of possible five in all competitions since the second week of December, Samp are in the doldrums and are not gaining much momentum, slipping to six points off a Europa League place in the league.
Tonight's Coppa Italia Round of 16 tie, though, could provide them with some romance and enthusiasm that they have lacked since the ostracism and subsequent departure of Antonio Cassano from Genoa.
Domenico Di Carlo's side warmed up for today's encounter with an 1-0 defeat to Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome that followed a 2-1 win against Roma in Genoa and will be aiming for a bounce-back today.
Sampdoria were involved in the 'Cup' competition in the first-half of the season when they initially featured in the Champions League qualifiers and then in the Europa League but failed to progress beyond the group stage. The Coppa Italia is not exactly a competition that the Blucerchiati would break much sweat over but they will aspire to thrill their supporters at home and give them something to cheer about.
Giampaolo Pozzo recently claimed that Udinese play "the best football in Italy". Now, he would say that as being the president of the Bianconeri he is expected to beat drums about his team, especially after they have held league leaders Milan to an enthralling 4-4 draw at San Siro in what what is widely acknowledged as the best game of the season in Serie A so far.
Pozzo, though, does have a point as Udinese have constructed their gameplan on attack and wing-plays and found the opposition's net four times again at the weekend when they defeated Genoa 4-2. It was their third game in the league in the new year without a defeat and their second win in three encounters, placing them just two points off a European place.
Tonight too the Udine-based side will aspire for a victory and more entertainment as they travel to Genoa again, this time to confront Sampdoria in what will be their third game on the road in succession.
Having defeated Padova and Lecce in the earlier rounds of the Coppa Italia, the Zebrette will be confident of seeing off the challenge of Samp to advance to the quarter-finals of the competition.
Zauri, Padalino and Semioli have not been included in the 20-man squad because of injury. Macheda could start upfront with Pazzini.
Domizzi and Benatia have been left out of the squad and will remain in Udine while Vydra and Battocchio have been called up.