Local Soccer: Betar will visit Sakhnin in August's Premier League season opener

Two-time defending champion Betar Jerusalem will visit Bnei Sakhnin in a mouth watering curtain raiser to the new Premier League season on August 30. Betar was handed a tough start to the season on Thursday night at Tel Aviv University where the Israel Football Association was celebrating its 80th anniversary. Itzhak Schum's team, which faces Partizan Belgrade in a preseason friendly in Switzerland on Friday night, hosts Maccabi Tel Aviv in its second league match of the season and in its fourth game will play Maccabi Haifa at Teddy Stadium. Two weeks before it drives to Jerusalem to face Betar, Haifa will go to Bloomfield Stadium to play Hapoel Tel Aviv. The first Tel Aviv derby of the season will take place on November 22 in the 11th matchday of the 2008/09 season. Lothar Matthaus's Maccabi Netanaya, which finished as runner-up to Betar in the last two seasons under the guidance of Reuven Atar, will host the reigning champion in the 10th match of its campaign. Netanya is currently at its training camp in Austria, preparing for its UEFACup second round match to be played next month. The Petah Tikva derby is back this season and newly promoted Hapoel will be counting the days to its meeting with Maccabi in the seventh week of the season.