Thursday 7 September 2017

Five things to watch for in Mannheim

The draw is out, and while at this stage I have no news on the German domestic qualifier, there's a few things to watch out for:

1) Can Ronny Huybrechts reach Dublin?

This is going to be a tough one - he needs to reach the last 16 as a minimum (to overcome Richard North, who's ahead on countback - if North beats Mick Todd he'll need a quarter final, if North beats Mick Todd and then Michael van Gerwen then tear up everything), and while Zoran Lerchbacher isn't the hardest draw he could get, it certainly won't be an easy game, and then he'd run into Peter Wright in round two. He's also right on the borderline for making Hasselt, so at least getting the first round win is very important for the Belgian's ranking.

2) Will Robert Thornton survive as a Dublin seed? Or player full stop?

Alan Norris and Simon Whitlock need one win between them to nudge him down to the Pro Tour qualification spots - Norris has a potential banana skin against Darren Webster or Ryan Meikle, whoever it is and especially how he's been playing on the Euro Tour this year, while Whitlock faces either a home nation qualifier or Daniel Larsson, he who whitewashed Justin Pipe earlier this year. You'd think Whitlock should win at least, so it's then down to the Pro Tour race - Thornton is done at £30,500, and the most likely way he goes out is if Richard North wins one game and Ronny Huybrechts wins two. He should be fine.

3) Will the commentators mention Mannheim's ridiculous road naming system?

Seriously, go onto Google Maps right now. I stayed a night there while watching Kaiserslautern last year and it's a huge mess.

4) Can the domestic qualifiers do anything?

As mentioned above, one faces Daniel Larsson, which is feasible, another has a great draw in Jamie Caven, then Benito van de Pas followed by the winner of the aforementioned Norris section, one has Mick McGowan which might be on, but would then face Mensur, and the final one has an in-form Nathan Aspinall into Dave Chisnall combination which'll be the toughest of the lot in my opinion. The easy section is, if PDC Europe's draw that was posted literally minutes ago corresponds with the qualifier numbering, the section that Schindler would head in to, so their best player right now (sorry Max, do something) getting the best opportunity is interesting.

5) Last week's quarter finalists clash!

Ratajski's facing Owen in round one in an amusing draw, both would have to fancy both this and Gerwyn Price in the second round. Ratajski's closing in on the worlds which would likely secure him a tour card, and every penny here counts as he's only in one more event that counts to the Pro Tour rankings, while Owen is looking to gain ground on the top 32 in the Euro Tour rankings for Hasselt qualification.

May be some bets later when odds get out, can't see anything yet and obviously four matches are yet to be

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