Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009
Kashima Antlers, bidding to become the first club to win three successive J. League titles, will take on Urawa Reds at home when the league kicks off its 2009 season on March 7.
Last year's runners-up Kawasaki Frontale will host Kashiwa Reysol while Asian club champions Gamba Osaka will play an away match against JEF United Chiba on the opening day, according to the season schedule released Friday by the J. League.
The first division will have a break of nearly a month, from May 25 to June 19, with the national team playing three 2010 World Cup qualifiers in June.
The season will end Dec. 5 for both the first and second divisions. The first round of the Nabisco Cup will begin March 25 with the final scheduled for Nov. 3.