More than local pride will be on the line when Borussia Dortmund clash with rivals Schalke in the Bundesliga on Tuesday.
The Revierderby is always significant to both clubs, regardless of their standing in German football.
But the intensity will be ramped up at Signal-Iduna Park on Tuesday, with the fixture crucial to Dortmund and Schalke in their bid to finish second.
Runaway leaders Bayern Munich are highly unlikely to be caught, but second spot is well and truly up for grabs with Jurgen Klopp's men just one point ahead of third-placed Schalke.
Dortmund warmed up for the derby with a 3-0 win at Hannover on Saturday, with goals to Mats Hummels, Robert Lewandowski and Marco Reus helping them bounce back from two successive home defeats.
Lewandowski's goal was an outstanding solo effort and the Poland striker says the result has boosted spirits ahead of Schalke's visit.
"This win was very, very important as we have picked up a lot of confidence for the derby," he told Dortmund's official website.
"Schalke gave only one point less than we do, so it's not just the derby itself that motivates us. It's also the battle for second place.
"This is a real top match now and we really want to win it. We fared quite well in the last couple of derbies…we will be highly motivated."
Dortmund will also be lifted by the news that club captain Sebastian Kehl signed a one-year contract extension on Sunday.
Schalke also enter the match on the back of a triumph, having toppled Eintracht Braunschweig 3-1 on Saturday.
And although Schalke exited the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday with a 9-2 aggregate defeat against Real Madrid – who Dortmund will play in the quarter-finals of the competition – coach Jens Keller believes his side are in good shape.
"I'm really proud of this great team," he told Schalke's official website after their latest win.
"The task now is to muster all our strength for the derby. We go to Dortmund with a good feeling - and it looks as if we have no further injuries."
Dortmund won the reverse fixture 3-1 in October, but lost both meetings 2-1 last term.
Both sides have significant injury problems, but Dortmund will be hopeful forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returns from a muscular injury after missing out on Saturday.
Definitely missing for Dortmund will be long-term absentees Jakub Blaszczykowski and Neven Subotic (both knee) and Ilkay Gundogan (back), while Sven Bender and Marcel Schmelzer (both groin) are also on the sidelines.
Schalke captain Benedikt Howedes (adductor injury) is out for several weeks and fellow defenders Christian Fuchs (knee), Felipe Santana, Atsuto Uchida (both hamstring) and Jan Kirchhoff (ankle) miss out.
The absentees are not limited to defenders either, with midfielders Jefferson Farfan, Marco Hoger and Dennis Aogo (all knee) and Christian Clemens (hip) also battling injuries.
With so many key players missing, the depth of both squads is sure to be tested in one of German football's biggest fixtures.
|Coach: J. Klopp|
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