The PDC European Tour gets back underway after a prolonged break this weekend, as the European Darts Trophy is held at the RWE Sporthalle in Muelheim.
The German venue previously hosted the PDC’s European Championship in 2014, where Michael van Gerwen memorably hit a perfect nine-dart leg in his semi-final against Raymond van Barneveld, en route to his tournament win.
Van Gerwen will be aiming to rediscover that magical form after a rather underwhelming World Series by his exceptional standards, in Australia.
The Green Machine is number 1 seed for the event, but he will face stiff competition for the title, as Michael Smith, seeded 2nd, aims to defend his crown. Smith defeated van Gerwen 6-5 in last year’s final in Leipzig, to secure his maiden European Tour title.
Gary Anderson has withdrawn from this weekend’s event, therefore Dutchman Benito van de Pas, the next player from the PDC Pro Tour Order of Merit, will be seeded 16th. Phil Taylor will also be absent in Germany, as he recovers from his World Series exploits, which culminated in an invitational tournament in Hong Kong last weekend.
However, Raymond van Barneveld will be making his first European Tour appearance of 2015, having secured his place through the European qualifiers, hosted this afternoon.
The veteran Dutchman is ranked 16th in the PDC Order of Merit and has acknowledged the need to compete more regularly on the tour, to improve his world ranking and guarantee his place in all the major tournaments.
Van Barneveld won his respective qualifiers 6-5 and 6-2 to confirm his spot in the event. Nevertheless, he will face exciting German youngster Max Hopp in the first-round on Friday night, in undoubtedly the tie of the opening round.
Elsewhere, Dirk van Duijvenbode, Christian Kist, Rowby-John Rodriguez and Mensur Suljovic all qualified for the event in Muelheim, but Jelle Klaasen failed to make it through, losing 6-5 to Christian Kallinger.
The full tournament draw can be found below.
European Darts Trophy – European Tour Event Seven
Tournament Draw Bracket
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Hunt/Ratajski
Benito van de Pas (16) v Lovett/Artut
Dave Chisnall (8) v Dekker/Bain
Justin Pipe (9) v Suljovic/Soethe
Peter Wright (5) v Price/A Jenkins
Kim Huybrechts (12) v Hopp/van Barneveld
Adrian Lewis (4) v Wilson/Schindler
Terry Jenkins (13) v Pallett/S West
Michael Smith (2) v Newton/Dobey
Vincent van der Voort (15) v Painter/Norris
Brendan Dolan (7) v Finnan/Reyes
Mervyn King (10) v Gurney/Frost
Ian White (6) v Bunting/Barilli
Simon Whitlock (11) v Hubbard/Rodriguez
James Wade (3) v Dudbridge/Johnson
Robert Thornton (14) v van Duijvenbode/Kist
Schedule of Play
Friday September 11
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time, 12pm-4pm BST)
Mark Dudbridge v Darren Johnson
David Pallett v Steve West
Darryl Gurney v Mark Frost
Connie Finnan v Cristo Reyes
Jason Lovett v Jyhan Artut
Jan Dekker v Jamie Bain
Adam Hunt v Krzysztof Ratajski
James Hubbard v Rowby-John Rodriguez
Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time, 6pm-10pm BST)
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Christian Kist
Mensur Suljovic v Christian Soethe
Gerwyn Price v Andy Jenkins
Stephen Bunting v Mark Barilli
Max Hopp v Raymond van Barneveld
Kevin Painter v Alan Norris
Wes Newton v Chris Dobey
James Wilson v Martin Schindler