Borussia Dortmund midfield terrier Thomas Delaney cannot wait to sink his teeth into Schalke in the Revierderby on Saturday, a game he says is "one of the biggest in Europe."
Although the summer signing from Werder Bremen is yet to play in the Ruhr district rumble, he knows all about intense footballing rivalries from his time in Germany’s north, and the Nordderby meetings with Hamburg in particular.
"I love these kind of games," Delaney told Germany’s leading sports specialist magazine, kicker. "I expect more. I expect more passion, more heart, more emotion. It’s one of the biggest games in Europe."
What is the Revierderby?
One of the fiercest rivalries in world football, the Revierderby between Schalke and Dortmund - two clubs separated by 20 miles as the crow flies - brings emotions to boiling point, in a region founded on hard-work, dedication and a deep sense of loyalty.
Perhaps more than anywhere else in Germany, fans in the Ruhr district expect to see those values reflected on the pitch, forged as they were in the local foundries and furnaces of Germany’s industrial and footballing heartland.
Watch: Dortmund and Schalke played out an eight-goal thriller last season
'Schalke will go full pelt'
The no-nonsense Delaney will doubtless thrive against the backdrop of ‘the Mother of all Derbies’, and while he acknowledges 12th-placed Schalke have not quite been firing on all cylinders of late, the Denmark international does not think that makes unbeaten Bundesliga leaders Dortmund’s task any easier.
"I'm not expecting a pretty game," warned Delaney. "Schalke will go full pelt and try to win every challenge. They could be playing in the second division, and it’d still be a difficult game for us. But we’re going there to win."