Michael van Gerwen will begin the defence of his European Championship title against fellow countryman Jan Dekker, whilst home favourite Kim Huybrechts takes on last year’s finalist Mensur Suljovic in Hasselt later this month.
Van Gerwen will be bidding for a fourth consecutive European Championship crown in Belgium, and he has earned the top seeding for this year’s event, having won six of the twelve European Tour events held this year.
‘The Green Machine’ will begin his campaign against compatriot Jan Dekker. The former Lakeside semi-finalist whitewashed Christian Kist and thrashed Mervyn King 6-1 to reach the last 16 of the European Darts Trophy last weekend, which sealed his European Championship debut.
There will also be two further all-Dutch ties in Hasselt. Christian Kist and Jelle Klaasen will contest a battle of the former Lakeside world champions, whilst two-time Euro Tour finalist Benito van de Pas takes on former major finalist Vincent van der Voort.
Second seed Peter Wright, who has won five European Tour titles this year, takes on World Masters champion Krzysztof Ratajski, who becomes the first Polish participant in the competition’s history. Meanwhile, third seed and Gibraltar Darts Trophy winner Michael Smith clashes with former World-Youth finalist Nathan Aspinall.
Belgian number one Kim Huybrechts faces a difficult first-round assignment as he faces fourth seed and Champions League of Darts winner Mensur Suljovic, a finalist in last year’s tournament. Huybrechts could potentially face his older brother Ronny in round-two, if ‘The Rebel’ can overcome UK Open finalist Gerwyn Price.
Sixth seed Rob Cross, who has reached two European Tour finals over the last month, faces German World Cup star Martin Schindler in a clash of the debutants, whilst seventh seed Joe Cullen takes on his stablemate and former Lakeside world champion Stephen Bunting.
Eighth seed and 2012 European Championship winner Simon Whitlock meets James Richardson in round-one, whilst one of the ties of the opening round sees World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney lock horns with 2009 finalist Steve Beaton.
World number eight Dave Chisnall will be hoping to capitalise on the array of high-profile absentees when he takes on Spain’s Cristo Reyes in his opening match. Gary Anderson, Phil Taylor, Adrian Lewis, Raymond van Barneveld and James Wade will all miss out in Hasselt, in what could be Chisnall’s chance to secure an elusive major title.
Elsewhere, World Grand Prix semi-finalist John Henderson plays Auckland Darts Masters winner Kyle Anderson, whilst former Lakeside finalist Alan Norris takes on the veteran Mervyn King. The remaining ties see Ian White meet Darren Webster, whilst the third Belgian qualifier, Dimitri van den Bergh, faces Welsh debutant Jonny Clayton.
The Unibet European Championship will be held from October 26-29 at the Ethias Arena in Hasselt, Belgium, and the schedule of play will be announced in due course. However, the full draw and tournament bracket can be viewed below.
2017 Unibet European Championship
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Jan Dekker
Ian White v Darren Webster
Simon Whitlock (8) v James Richardson
Alan Norris v Mervyn King
Jelle Klaasen (5) v Christian Kist
John Henderson v Kyle Anderson
Mensur Suljovic (4) v Kim Huybrechts
Gerwyn Price v Ronny Huybrechts
Peter Wright (2) v Krzysztof Ratajski
Jonny Clayton v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Joe Cullen (7) v Stephen Bunting
Daryl Gurney v Steve Beaton
Rob Cross (6) v Martin Schindler
Dave Chisnall v Cristo Reyes
Michael Smith (3) v Nathan Aspinall
Benito van de Pas v Vincent van der Voort