Borussia Dortmund versus Bayern Munich! What a match! It is not a derby, but there can be no denying it is the biggest match in Germany.
I should know, having been involved in this match on a number of occasions.
Such is the rivalry between the two teams that on the weekend they meet, the rest of the matches just don’t even matter, and it will be the same this coming weekend.
The people from the north (Dortmund) are so aggressive towards those from the south, because they feel Munich get all the sponsors.
So there is more than just the game that makes the Dortmund fans always want to see their team beating Munich.
I remember when I played there, how the fans would come to our training sessions ahead of the Munich clash to cheer us on.
And it wasn’t just a few fans who came, but we could have between 5 000 and 10 000 of them watching us train.
That kind of support is enough to drive you to wanting to play your best, if only to make sure that you do not disappoint them.
When you go into that match, you realise that you do not only represent the Dortumund fans, but the entire northern side of Germany.
The pressure that comes with the match is so high that if you’ve lost, all you want to do is hide because of the disappointment you’ve brought to the people.
I remember my first match against Munich like it was yesterday. It was my first game in the Bundesliga, and we went away to Munich. Talk about experiencing a baptism of fire!
Munich were the defending champions and they were opening their then new stadium, the Allianz Arena.
The strange thing was that in the build-up to the match that week, I was uncharacteristically relaxed. Generally I stress about big matches, but that week I was very calm.
But then on match-day the nerves hit me big time, but I managed to hide it well from everyone.
It was incredible being in that amazing stadium, and I soaked up the atmosphere and it helped me to relax, and some five minutes into the game, I was my normal self. We lost that match unfortunately.
We got them back when they came to visit, though. What a match that was.
It was the first game after the Christmas break and the fans were eager to see us back in action.
There is something special about playing at the Dortmund Arena (Westfalenstadion). The atmosphere in that stadium is arguably the best I’ve experienced in my playing career.
A Dortmund home match against Bayern is one of the greatest events any sportsman can be a part of.
The drive up to the stadium in the team bus makes you realise just what an occasion you are about to be involved in. Throughout the route, all you see is fans in their yellow colours and they cheer us up as the bus drives through.
And then you get to the stadium and they start singing “You’ll never Walk Alone”.
I always got goosebumps, the hairs on my arms always stood up - what an incredible experience.
So, I am looking forward to this weekend’s match. The current Dortmund team is pretty exciting. They have a new coach who clearly loves to work with youngsters, and they’ve had a flying start to the season in the league despite having bit of a struggle in the Champions League
It’s going to be one of those very close games.
But I think Munich might just win it because they have the more experienced team.
They won’t have it easy because as I said, Dortmund hate losing to Munich.