Vincent Kompany is determined to make his first visit to Old Trafford special - and City's ambitious Belgian star is warning champions United that derbies will probably never be the same again.
The Blues' 2-1 victory at United last February was one of the highlights of the season, but Kompany expects Mark Hughes' revolution under the new owners to gather such momentum that City will soon climb to the sharp end.
He said: "I've never played at Old Trafford - I've never even been there. But I have grown into these colours and into the club tradition, and I feel I am a Citizen! Don't worry, I know who the opponents are on Sunday.
"We want to win, and in a derby there is never a favourite - anything can happen, as was proved last year. Our motivation will be high, not just because it's United but because we are determined to get the seventh place.
"I cannot imagine that any of our players will not have the hunger, and United must realise that the derby is going to get tougher in coming years. There are some big derbies coming up ...
"United will be tough opponents. At the moment it's just one game that can get us closer to seventh place, it's not going to make us champions. So let's talk about things next year and see what happens then."
Kompany considers the Blues are meeting their great rivals at just the right time after four successive victories revived the season in the wake of a glorious UEFA Cup defeat against his old club Hamburg.
He said: "Since we have had clear weeks we have increased our level dramatically and players are coming back fit. We have shown what a good side we are. Mark Hughes' ideas can pay off when the personnel is there.
"We are in a better situation now to prepare. It's important to plan well, but in the end any player on the pitch is beatable. We won't just look to defend. United are in our way and we have to go there and get a result.
"As a neutral you have to respect what they are doing. They have proved to be one of the best teams in the world, but on Sunday they're just another Manchester team like we are."
As a teenage prodigy at Anderlecht, Kompany was a reported target for United as well as Premier League rivals Chelsea and Arsenal before joining Hamburg and helping steer their climb up the Bundesliga.
He said: "I've always been very down to earth. A lot of big clubs were linked, but you know two years of injuries will change things. I'm fit now and my experience in Germany has made me a better player.
"I've no regrets, and I'm happy to be with City. I have no emotions towards United. I'll watch them on TV, and as long as they keep winning, they are the best. I have respect for them - and a passion to beat them."