Werder Bremen's director of sport Klaus Allofs has belittled Hannover's recent achievements and claims his club remains the pride of northern Germany.
Bremen have a week off after tomorrow's trip to Hannover, whereas Hannover will be in Europa League action for the second season running on Thursday.
Despite the fact Mirko Slomka's Hannover men have finished above Bremen in each of the last two seasons, Allofs says any suggestion they are now Germany's top northern outfit is misleading.
``We still feel we are the number one in the north,'' he said yesterday. ``It depends which way you want to look at it - just look at the all-time Bundesliga table or the number of participations in the Champions League.''
Bremen may be top in both of those rankings, but Hannover are a point ahead of their neighbours in the current league table, thanks to a thumping 4-0 victory in another derby game against Wolfsburg a fortnight ago.
Slomka certainly has another way of looking at the statistics as he focuses on the here and now.
``Of course it is great being number one in the north,'' he said, ahead of the clash at the Niedersachsenstadion.
``What matters the most, though, is that you finish in a good position in the Bundesliga.''
Hannover will be looking to beat Bremen at home for the third time in succession tomorrow.
``We don't just want to show the fans a great game, but we want to keep the points here too,'' added Slomka.
Slomka is without a trio of players - Christian Pander, Christian Schulz and Mame Diouf - who are all on the road to recovery from injuries. All three will also miss their Europa League trip to FC Twente on Thursday.
For Bremen, Austrians Sebastian Prodl, Zlatko Junuzovic and Marko Arnautovic were in a sombre mood on their return from international duty, but coach Thomas Schaaf tried to lift their spirits.
``They played a great game and all three of them can take so many positives out of it,'' said the Bremen coach with reference to Austria's 2-1 defeat to Germany on Tuesday.