(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Betar Jerusalem will look to maintain its perfect start to the season when the Premier League reurns to action this weekend after a three week break.
The reigning champion is the only team to record two victories in the first two matches of the campaign and will be confident of extending its winning streak against Maccabi Herzliya at Teddy Stadium on Saturday night.
Betar was fortunate to come away with a 2-1 victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv at Bloomfield Stadium in its last league match, but has nevertheless been the most impressive team in the league to date.
So-called championship contenders Hapoel Tel Aviv, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa have collected a combined two points in the first two weeks of the season, severally hurting their chances of wrestling the title away form Jerusalem.
Herzliya, which is one of only two teams to lose the first two matches of the season, will be hoping that the eight Betar players who were part of the Israel squad that suffered a demoralizing loss to England on Saturday will still be reeling from the effects of the defeat at Teddy.
"We're still thinking of the loss on Saturday," said center back Shimon Gershon, who played 90 minutes for Israel at Wembley Stadium.
"It's difficult to forget the match, but Schum says that there's always another game and that it always comes around quickly."
Betar captain David Amsalem said: "Only time will help the players recover from the loss at Wembley. It's not easy, but after a few training sessions at your club the unpleasant experience fades away."
Amsalem also spoke of the expectations Betar faces this season.
"Everybody said that we won the championship even before we ever kicked off the season, but that's a mistake," he said.
"We have mature players who understand the importance of this season and know that it won't be easy to claim the title."
The Betar players spoke to the media at the club's annual pre-Rosh Hashana drinks held after training on Tuesday.
Also on Saturday, Hapoel Tel Aviv will try to rebound from its heartbreaking defeat to Betar with victory away at Bnei Yehuda.
Hapoel, which faces AIK Solna in the first round of the UEFA Cup on September 20, will aim to translate its European form to league play and to record its first win of the season against a Bnei Yehuda side which is still looking for its first goal of the season.
Last season's runner-up Maccabi Netanya hosts Bnei Sakhnin with the aim of making up ground on Betar.
Netanya, which drew with Hapoel Tel Aviv in the first game of the season, will be looking to build on its 2-1 victory over Herzliya in Matchday 2.
In Saturday's first match, Ironi Kiryat Shmona hosts Ashdod SC in a game between two of the more surprising teams in the league.
Maccabi Haifa, which has yet to claim a point or score a goal, hosts Maccabi Petah Tikva on Sunday.
Striker Shlomi Arbitman is a doubt for the game after picking up an injury in training. Maccabi Tel Aviv faces Hapoel Kfar Saba at Bloomfield Stadium in the final game of Matchday 3 on Monday night.