"In the bakery, in the gas station, there is only one thing being talked about: that's the derby!" Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann's trip to pick up some pretzels and petrol this week confirmed that Sunday's Revierderby between Borussia Dortmund and the Royal Blues is on everyone's mind, and rightly so!
There are those in the Bundesliga stat den who still need fanning down at the mere mention of this season's Matchday 13 meeting between these two German juggernauts, who collided then to produce an incredible 4-4 draw. So, no doubt fans will flock to the Veltins-Arena on Sunday, take to their favourite bar stool or ease back into the lazy-boy at home in anticipation of more electric entertainment between these two massive rivals.
Watch: Relive an all-time Bundesliga classic!
The numbers from last November's fixture are formidable, the emotions produced among players and fans both frenzied or fraught with fear, depending on which set of colours you identified with. "When I left the pitch, I was ashamed," was BVB goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller's honest response to featuring in a game his side had led 4-0 after 25 minutes, only to end up with a point following a second-half collapse.
"My first thought was that we'd just made history," Schalke's Nabil Bentaleb - who was injured that day, but watching from the stands - commented.
#TBT We don't have to go too far back in the history of the #RevierDerby to find @s04's most dramatic comeback, right @naldo29_oficial? . . . #schalke #knappen #Bundesliga #Football #Soccer #fussball #futbol #goals #lovefootball #thebeautifulgame #instasport #team #soccerislife #footy #skills #matchday #player #match #footballgame #ball
Football lovers the world over admired some fine comebacks in the UEFA Champions League this week: Roma reversing a 4-1 first leg lead to oust Barcelona and Juventus coming back from 3-0 down to oh so very nearly take holders Real Madrid into extra time. Yet what those in the Westfalenstadion witnessed on 25 November beat the aforementioned results hands down. In fact, it was the first time in Bundesliga history a side managed to claw back a 4-0 deficit to earn a draw.
The division's top scoring defender with six goals - Naldo - scored the game's defining goal in the 94th minute against a flabbergasted Wiedenfeller: a 35-year-old netting against a 37-year-old.
The post-match numbers revealed the story of a game for the ages: Dortmund boasting eight shots to Schalke's two in the first half, the visitors trumping that ratio by 11:3 in the second.
So, can we, should we, expect more of the same on Sunday? The answer is an emphatic yes! "You can feel that spine-tingling sensation, and it's got nothing to do with spring!," S04's Fährmann said with the game rapidly approaching. "It's the most important derby in Germany, and one of the greatest in Europe," Dortmund's Nuri Sahin - hoping to feature in his 16th Revierderby - added.
And the stakes are very, very high. They may only be playing to finish second, but you can bet both of these teams will battle to the bitter end in order to achieve that runners-up spot at each other's expense. Schalke hold a one-point advantage, so know the significance of what a win would do for them. Indeed, a fifth consecutive draw between these sides would suffice to keep Domenico Tedesco's charges ahead.
Facing the team with the second best defensive record in this season's Bundesliga, Dortmund can counter that by pulling out their Marco Reus card, the 28-year-old is always a threat in this fixture, having scored six times in 12 Revierderbies.
Watch: Marco Reus: 18 clubs, 18 goals
Recently-signed Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored two in the corresponding encounter this term, yet BVB now have Michy Batshuayi - the Belgian behemoth who has been banging them in at a rate of seven goals in nine Bundesliga games, beating Auba's start to life at Die Schwarzgelben.
"There’s a very special atmosphere when these two teams face each other; we want to win at all costs!" Bentaleb told Schalke's official website. "It was an extraordinary game and one we will still be talking about in 20 years time," Dortmund coach Peter Stöger said of this season's 4-4 draw, before concluding, "But this time around, both teams will want to win." Bring on the 92nd Revierderby!