SEB Larsson is bracing himself for the first of two ‘derbies’ this week.
Sweden take on Germany this evening before Larsson returns to Wearside for the big clash with Newcastle on Sunday.
Although games between the Scandinavian countries have the biggest rivalry, games between the Swedes and the Germans have a special needle – and Larsson knows that tonight’s match in Berlin is doubly important because it’s a World Cup qualifier.
The Swedes were less than impressive against the Faroe Islands last week when they avoided national humiliation by coming back from a 1-0 deficit to win 2-1.
And Larsson knows that a similar display against a German side which sliced apart the Republic of Ireland 6-1 in their last outing, could end in a similarly disastrous result for the Swedes.
“This is a huge match for us,” he said.
“But we think we can take something out of the game.
“Every one of us though needs to be at our best because Germany are a world-class side.”
Larsson can only concentrate on his international duties going into tonight’s game but he’s fully aware an intense derby day awaits on his return.
There’s a suggestion that had things taken a different twist, Larsson could be playing in the black and white of Newcastle now rather than the red and white of Sunderland but it’s a suggestion the 27-year-old dismisses.
“When I was at Birmingham there was a lot of speculation in a January transfer window about different moves,” he mused.
“I think Newcastle were one of the teams mentioned but I never went anywhere to talk to anyone at that time – as far as I know, I didn’t come up to Newcastle!
“I had lots of options and there’s always speculation when you’re in that position.
“But I’m settled at the football club. I’m settled outside of football and I’ve got nothing to complain about.”