Bayern Munich defender David Alaba hopes Mario Gotze will be warmly received on his Borussia Dortmund return in Sunday's DFL-Supercup showdown.
Germany playmaker Gotze moved back to Thomas Tuchel's side during the close season following a patchy three-year spell with the Bundesliga champions and the rivalry between the two clubs means it is unlikely any love will be lost when they meet at Signal Iduna Park.
Alaba believes Gotze turning out on Dortmund's home ground once more will make for a memorable occasion for his former team-mate.
And the Austria international hopes he will not receive a frosty reception from BVB fans, who were infuriated by his original decision to join Bayern, which the 24-year-old has since said was the wrong move.
"It will be very special, because of Mario's return. I hope and wish that the fans won't boo Mario," Alaba told Bild.
"He did a lot for BVB already and gave some beautiful moments to them. I hope they will be thankful for that.
"I am sure Mario will give them more in the future. The time in Munich was difficult for him because of several injuries. But it's no secret that he's a world-class player."
Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke echoed Alaba's sentiment and insists his team's famously vocal supporters should not bear a grudge over Gotze's time with their arch enemies.
"I never understood why Mario was hated that much," he said. "Of course we were disappointed. Mario was the heart of our youth work. But he did nothing wrong."
And Watzke is hopeful the man who scored the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final can rediscover the form that won him the affections of the Dortmund faithful first time around.
"We hope now that he will be the old Mario from the first day onwards," he added.
"I hope he will feel to be at home again. This feeling was absent [for Gotze] in Munich."
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.