Fading Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City take on Manchester United today having unexpectedly fallen behind their arch-rivals in the table.
For most of the season City, if not looking like mounting the strongest of title defences, at least seemed destined for a top-two finish.
That is now far from certain following a dramatic slump in fortunes while United, ordinary for much of the campaign, appear to have clicked into gear in the last month.
With just a point separating them in third and fourth, the stage is set for a battle of high intensity.
Pellegrini said: “It is difficult to have a more intense match than you have in the Premier League every week but of course you add a little bit more for a derby of the city. Both teams want to win.
“It is important to be the winning team in the city – that gives an extra plus for the game, not only intensity is better but quality.
“Both teams have very good players and both managers like to play an attacking system so I hope (for a good game for) the fans, for whom you play, and after that I hope we can win.”
City have held the edge over United in recent contests and could register a fifth successive derby win for the first time in their history with victory this weekend.
A win would also see them become the first club to beat United five times in a row in the Premier League.
United had the last laugh over City after the first of their current sequence of derby wins by winning the league in 2013 but since then the blues have had the bragging rights.