The Regionalliga West season has just begun, but the local derby between Borussia Dortmund and RW Essen is already upon us. Coach Enrico Maaßen's side will hope to keep up their winning run in the Sunday afternoon (kick-off 14:00 CET) encounter at the Rote Erde Stadium. 

The Black & Yellows are out to make it 12 points from four matches - but first they'll have to overcome a strong opposition. Essen have already demonstrated their credentials this season with a win over Bundesliga side Arminia Bielefeld in the first round of the DFB Cup. However, their one league match so far ended in a 1-1 draw with SC Wiedenbrück. 

BVB, on the other hand, are yet to drop a point, having picked up a maximum of nine points from their three league matches thus far. Their most recent win came in a hard-fought battle with Sportfreunde Lotte on Wednesday evening. In the words of BVB midfielder Franz Pfanne: ''Lotte played well, but we defended strongly and secured an excellent win.'' The key to the side's 100 percent record has been a healthy mix of footballing quality and collective determination: ''We've set ourselves the goal of always playing as a team. It's worked out well for us so far and we're sure it will help us moving forward.''

Pfanne sees no problem in the showdown with local rivals taking place on Matchday 4 of the season: ''We don't care when we play Essen. It's certainly a game you get fired up for. Essen want to achieve promotion. You read it in every newspaper, and the players say as much too.'' One player who wants to contribute to a promotion push is Simon Engelmann. The goal-getting Essen striker, who has already proved his qualities this season, is a familiar face for Pfanne: the two played alongside one another under Enrico Maaßen in Rödinghausen last season. ''I know what Simon is capable of. Namely scoring goals,'' says Pfanne, adding: ''But I can defend, and I'm hoping to get in his way.''

Timo Lammert