The Tyne-Wear derby needs little added spice, but it will have it in bucket loads as Sunderland travel to Newcastle on Sunday, with the incentive of top-flight status to add to local bragging rights.
A victory for Alan Pardew's men would pretty much cement their Premier League status, while at the same time condemning their nearest and dearest to a nail-biting relegation battle.
On the flip side, should Paolo Di Canio seal his first win as the Black Cats' boss, it won't get Sunderland out of danger, but it may well drag the Magpies back into the dog fight.
Sunderland are at 4.216/5 to get a win at St. James' Park on Sunday, with Newcastle trading at just 1.9720/21 for victory.
The Magpies climbed to 13th with their last gasp win over Fulham on Sunday, thanks to a 90th-minute strike from Papiss Cisse. Pardew's men haven't been higher than 13th since November - a stark contrast to the highs of last season, which saw them battling for a Champions League spot right to the death.
As it turns out, their fifth-place finish and consequential participation in the Europa League this term has probably been a contributing factor to their plight.
Until January's lavish spending, Newcastle's squad was pretty threadbare and they endured a fairly average start to the season, with four draws from their opening eight league matches.
But with numerous New Year acquisitions, the Magpies have just about managed to keep their heads above water and reach the Europa League quarter-finals to boot.
But for rivals Sunderland, their season doesn't look likely to have the rose-tinted finish. Despite a string of draws at the start of the campaign, the Black Cats had been beaten just once by the end of October. But that's about as good as it got.
Results have been poor, performances uninspiring and the only man scoring any goals - Steven Fletcher - got crocked on international duty at the business end of the season.
Having not won a league tie since their 3-2 victory over fellow strugglers Wigan on January 19, Sunderland are among the favourites to be relegated at 2.8615/8, with Newcastle now huge outsiders at 60.059/1.
But Sunderland's run-in does present the opportunity to pick up points.
The Tyne-Wear derby stats aren't on their side, despite the 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light earlier this season. Of 132 league meetings between the old rivals, Newcastle have won 51, with 41 draws and just 40 Sunderland victories.
But as we have seen time and again, derbies can throw up some unexpected results in the heat of battle. And while the Black Cats face tough games with European hopefuls Everton and Tottenham, there are points to be gained against Aston Villa, Stoke and Southampton.
But draws may not be enough and defeats, especially against Villa or Stoke, could condemn Di Canio's side to Championship football next season.
Newcastle, on the other hand, look to have a slightly trickier run-in on paper as they host Liverpool and Arsenal and travel to West Brom, West Ham and QPR.
The Magpies do have the luxury of points in the bag, sitting atop the rest of the reasonable relegation candidates. But defeat on Sunday could change the picture once again, making it one of the most crucial Tyne-Wear derbies of recent times.
Back Sunderland to be Relegated @ 2.8615/8