The European Tour returns this weekend when the stars of darts head to Germany for the German Darts Open, the third to last qualifying event for the European Championship later in the year. Each event is taking on extra significance as we close in on the closure of that qualification period.
Peter Wright won this tournament a year ago and it goes without saying that after the disappointing year that he has had that he’ll be looking for a big weekend to attempt to defend the title. A decent but not elite field will oppose him.
2022 – Peter Wright
2019 – Michael van Gerwen
2018 – Max Hopp
2017 – Peter Wright
We might not have had many European Tour events last year but the format for these tournaments remains the same as before, which means that the last 32 of the tournament is played over two sessions of action on Saturday, with the last 16 on Sunday afternoon and the quarter finals on Sunday night. They are all the best-of-11 legs with the semi-finals also on Sunday evening. They are the best-of-13 and then the final in the same session is the best-of-15 legs. The draw has been pre-determined and is played in a straight knockout format.
With a bunch of big names giving this event a swerve ahead of the first of a run of TV events next weekend, it means Dave Chisnall is the number one seed and as a result of that he is placed in the top half of the draw. If everything goes to the seeding then he will come up against Dirk van Duijvenbode in the semi-final but some big names will be out to stop that from happening. The defending champion Peter Wright is in this half of the draw while Danny Noppert, Krzysztof Ratajski, Jose de Sousa, Josh Rock and Ryan Searle are the other seeded players.
There are eight qualifiers in this part of the draw as well with Ricky Evans probably the most famous among them. He has come into a decent spell of form and will be looking to maximise his opportunity this weekend, as will Luke Woodhouse, Cameron Menzies and Dylan Slevin. Mike de Decker is gaining status in the game and has the chance to showcase his skills this weekend while Kevin Doets, Roy van de Griendt and Jules van Dongen complete the top half of the draw.
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Damon Heta has had a decent time of it on the European Tour this season and as such he is the number two seed this weekend and the leading seed in the bottom half of the draw. Luke Humphries has become something of a European Tour specialist through the last couple of years and he is seeded to meet the Australian in the semi-final. UK Open champion Andrew Gilding, Joe Cullen, home star Martin Schindler, Ross Smith, Rob Cross and Nathan Aspinall are the other seeds in this half of the draw.
Stephen Bunting is among the most recognisable of the unseeded players in this bottom section this weekend. Another one would be Daryl Gurney while the exciting Dutch star Gian van Veen will be looking to show the world what he has got in this tournament too. The home crowds will look to give Florian Hempel the edge with Madars Razma, Ricardo Pietreczko, Wesley Plaisier, and Brian Raman complete the draw in Germany.
I’ll take a couple of outright bets this weekend with the first of those coming in the form of Danny Noppert, who unlike some of the players in this field has been active over the period since the World Matchplay having done the World Series events on the other part of the world. I would imagine a taste of those tournaments will fuel the fire to ensure he is a regular in them and dominating events like this will play a part in that becoming a reality. Noppert comes in here off the back of a couple of decent efforts in the Players Championship events earlier in the week and while those two World Series events didn’t yield the results he would have wanted, he averaged 97 and 100 in losing efforts. If he has those averages with him this weekend he’ll be hard to stop.
The other player I like this weekend is Daryl Gurney. He has been playing well over the last couple of months. He made the quarter final of the World Matchplay where he looked to be getting back to somewhere near his best and he has had some good results on the Players Championship scene since then, including a semi-final appearance at one earlier in the week to have sharpened his confidence up nicely ahead of this tournament. Gurney is in what looks like the weakest quarter of the draw to my eye and one which could easily open right up. At 50/1 I’ll pay to see if he can take advantage of that.
Back D.Noppert to win German Darts Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 23.00 with Unibet (1/2 1-2)
Back D.Gurney to win German Darts Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 51.00 with Coral (1/2 1-2)