2019 Unibet European Championship preview

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2019 Unibet European Championship preview

The 2019 Unibet European Championship gets underway on Thursday at the Lokhalle in Göttingen, Germany as James Wade begins his title defence against Jonny Clayton on the opening night.

The Unibet European Championship will be held from October 24-27, with the top 32 players from the 2019 European Tour competing for £500,000 in prize money.

The tournament will be broadcast live on ITV4 in the UK, on PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.

European Championship schedule of play (PDC)

Wade defeated Simon Whitlock 11-8 in last year's gripping final in Dortmund having survived missed match darts in both his quarter-final win over Gerwyn Price and a dramatic semi-final against German favourite Max Hopp.

The title came just 13 days after Wade became a father for the first time to son Arthur, and the ten-time televised PDC champion holds fond memories of last year's triumph.

"I do have fond memories of winning this event last year, it meant a lot to me," said Wade, who hit a nine-dart finish on the European Tour in March.

“I'd won TV titles before but I'd never made the most of them and that one was extra special because it was for Arthur.

"I felt emotional after I won it. I've been through some tough times in my career and winning this last year was a really sweet moment after coming through it all.

"But that's gone now and my focus is on this weekend and giving the best performance I can. I'm a dangerous player and I know what I'm capable of."

Thursday's action-packed opening session will begin with a clash between European Darts Matchplay winner Joe Cullen and Mervyn King before a meeting between former European Championship winners Adrian Lewis and Whitlock.

Michael Van Gerwen (Lawrence Lustig, PDC)

Michael van Gerwen will begin his quest for a third televised title in as many weeks against Ross Smith after winning the World Grand Prix and Champions League over the past fortnight.

The world number one, Unibet’s 6/4 pre-tournament favourite, is confident of regaining his European Championship title after losing out in last year’s second round.

"Last year was very disappointing for myself, fair play to Steve West he played a great game to beat me," said Van Gerwen, who held the European Championship title from 2014 to 2017.

"This tournament is important to me because I play all year on the European Tour to be number one seed here.

"Last weekend was a phenomenal weekend of high-standard darts for me, I didn't have one average under 100.

"There's lots of TV tournaments coming up and that's a really nice position to be in because I love to perform on stage, especially when I'm playing well and winning things."

Day One also sees Rob Cross in action against Darren Webster, while Danish Darts Open winner Dave Chisnall takes on Dimitri Van den Bergh.

Ian White, a winner of two European Tour titles in 2019, will play Michael Smith in Friday afternoon's star attraction, as Peter Wright faces the test of rising Dutch talent Jeffrey de Zwaan.

2019 European Tour winners Gerwyn Price, Mensur Suljovic, Krzysztof Ratajski and Jamie Hughes will also get their campaigns underway on the afternoon of Day Two.

Friday's evening session will see the opening four second round ties take place, before the remaining four are played on Saturday evening.

The quarter-finals will kick-off Sunday's final day of action, followed by the semi-finals and final in the evening.

2019 Unibet European Championship
Thursday October 24
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)
First Round x8

Joe Cullen v Mervyn King
Dave Chisnall v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Glen Durrant v Ricky Evans
Adrian Lewis v Simon Whitlock
Rob Cross v Darren Webster
James Wade v Jonny Clayton
Michael van Gerwen v Ross Smith
Daryl Gurney v William O'Connor

Friday October 25
Afternoon Session (1245 local time, 1145 BST)
First Round x8

Jamie Hughes v Jermaine Wattimena
Keegan Brown v Stephen Bunting
Krzysztof Ratajski v Chris Dobey
Nathan Aspinall v Steve Beaton
Mensur Suljovic v Vincent van der Voort
Ian White v Michael Smith
Peter Wright v Jeffrey de Zwaan
Gerwyn Price v Ted Evetts

Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)
Second Round x4

Cullen/King v Cross/Webster
Gurney/O'Connor v Lewis/Whitlock
Chisnall/Van den Bergh v Wade/Clayton
Van Gerwen/R Smith v Durrant/Evans

Saturday October 26
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)
Second Round x4

Suljovic/Van der Voort v Ratajski/Dobey
White/M Smith v Brown/Bunting
Price/Evetts v Aspinall/Beaton
Wright/De Zwaan v Hughes/Wattimena

Sunday October 27 (1245 local time, 1145 BST)
Afternoon Session
Quarter-Finals

Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 GMT)
Semi-Finals & Final

Draw Bracket
(1) Michael van Gerwen v (32) Ross Smith
(16) Glen Durrant v (17) Ricky Evans
(8) Joe Cullen v (25) Mervyn King
(9) Rob Cross v (24) Darren Webster
(5) Dave Chisnall v (28) Dimitri Van den Bergh
(12) James Wade v (21) Jonny Clayton
(4) Daryl Gurney v (29) William O'Connor
(13) Adrian Lewis v (20) Simon Whitlock
(2) Ian White v (31) Michael Smith
(15) Keegan Brown v (18) Stephen Bunting
(7) Peter Wright v (26) Jeffrey de Zwaan
(10) Jamie Hughes v (23) Jermaine Wattimena
(6) Mensur Suljovic v (27) Vincent van der Voort
(11) Krzysztof Ratajski v (22) Chris Dobey
(3) Gerwyn Price v (30) Ted Evetts
(14) Nathan Aspinall v (19) Steve Beaton

Prize Fund
Winner £120,000
Runner-Up £60,000
Semi-Finalists £32,000
Quarter-Finalists £20,000
Second Round Losers £10,000
First Round Losers £6,000
Total £500,000

Format
First Round - Best of 11 legs
Second Round - Best of 19 legs
Quarter-Finals - Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals - Best of 21 legs
Final - Best of 21 legs

Roll of Honour
2008 Phil Taylor def Adrian Lewis 11-5
2009 Phil Taylor def Steve Beaton 11-3
2010 Phil Taylor def Wayne Jones 11-1
2011 Phil Taylor def Adrian Lewis 11-8
2012 Simon Whitlock def Wes Newton 11-5
2013 Adrian Lewis def Simon Whitlock 11-6
2014 Michael van Gerwen def Terry Jenkins 11-4
2015 Michael van Gerwen def Gary Anderson 11-10
2016 Michael van Gerwen def Mensur Suljovic 11-1
2017 Michael van Gerwen def Rob Cross 11-7
2018 James Wade def Simon Whitlock 11-8

Unibet European Championship Odds
Outright Winner

6/4 Michael van Gerwen
8/1 Rob Cross
9/1 Peter Wright
12/1 Gerwyn Price
14/1 Mensur Suljovic
16/1 Nathan Aspinall, Daryl Gurney
18/1 Glen Durrant, Michael Smith
22/1 Dave Chisnall, Krzysztof Ratajski, Ian White
28/1 James Wade
33/1 Chris Dobey, Jeffrey de Zwaan
50/1 Adrian Lewis
80/1 Joe Cullen, Jamie Hughes, Jermaine Wattimena, Dimitri Van den Bergh
100/1 Stephen Bunting, Jonny Clayton, Mervyn King, Simon Whitlock
150/1 Keegan Brown, William O'Connor, Vincent van der Voort
200/1 Steve Beaton, Ricky Evans, Darren Webster
250/1 Ted Evetts
300/1 Ross Smith