Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory will be far from full strength for Saturday's blockbuster clash at Allianz Stadium.
Both unbeaten teams have been robbed of their star internationals for the weekend's 'Big Blue' - pitting second against third in Sydney - with nine players plucked away for national duty.
Victory - level on 11 points with Sydney after five rounds - are the hardest hit, having lost captain Mark Milligan, Kosta Barbarouses (New Zealand), Daniel Georgievski (Macedonia), Connor Pain, Scott Galloway and Jason Geria (Australia U-23) for upcoming international fixtures.
Sydney, on the other hand, will be without marquee and Austria captain Marc Janko, Terry Antonis and Corey Gameiro (Australia U-23).
Milligan (knee) and Antonis (head, neck soreness) were both called up by Australia coach Ange Postecoglou but the pair will not make the trip to Osaka for the friendly against Japan on November 18 due to injury.
Sydney and Victory head into Saturday's clash on the back of draws on the road.
Graham Arnold's men played out an entertaining goalless draw at high-flying Adelaide United on Friday, while Kevin Muscat's Victory came from two goals down to earn a share of the spoils against Newcastle Jets on Saturday.
Sydney hold the edge over Victory in the past five meetings, winning two - with one of those coming in the form of a 5-0 rout in Melbourne in January.
Victory's most recent win against Sydney away from home was back in November 2012, when substitute Andrew Nabbout scored in the final minute to give the visitors a 3-2 triumph.
Meanwhile, all eyes will be on Hunter Stadium as beleaguered defending champions Brisbane Roar attempt to kick-start their season against Newcastle Jets on Friday.
Roar have endured a miserable start to the 2014-15 campaign, losing all four games after last week's 3-1 defeat at home to Melbourne City.
Tempers flared among team-mates post-game, with Shane Stefanutto remonstrating with goalkeeper Jamie Young, leading to suggestions of disharmony within the squad.
Newcastle have fared slightly better, earning two points from their five games thus far.
In other fixtures, recently crowed AFC Champions League winners Western Sydney Wanderers will be out to claim their first win of the domestic season when they travel to league-leading Perth Glory on Sunday.
Western Sydney are without a point after three matches, though they have two games in hand due to Champions League commitments.
Adelaide are at home to surprise-packets Wellington Phoenix on Saturday, before Melbourne City welcome the stuttering Central Coast Mariners to AAMI Park on Sunday.