Now the motherland of darts awaits. After a brilliant pre-Christmas period, the German quartet can make history at the World Cup in Alexandra Palace.
So far, last year's semi-finalist Gabriel Clemens is the only German who has ever reached the round of 16 at the most important tournament of the year. This time four professionals, Clemens, Martin Schindler, Ricardo Pietreczko and Florian Hempel, have the chance to win a ticket for the round of 16. And they all demand local heroes from England in London.
"How the German darts sport is developing and how we are developing is great. The support was great for us. The atmosphere was really great and I hope that we will experience the same thing after Christmas," said Schindler in front of the German-English team Days at the famous Ally Pally. Even before Christmas, the proportion of black, red and gold was higher than ever before. Experience shows that this is even higher after the holidays.
Don't give it Elite-Level
The 27-year-old Schindler himself starts on Wednesday (1.30 p.m./Sport1 and DAZN) and can be the favorite with a win against the unseeded Scott Williams.
In England, the duels with the Germans are hardly an issue given the twelve remaining starters and teenage sensation Luke Littler (16). For the German quartet, however, it is a huge opportunity to achieve another milestone a year after Saarlander Clemens' semi-final coup.
"Players like Gabriel and Martin are really close to this elite level. The first professional who makes the breakthrough will benefit massively from the past few years," said PDC managing director Matthew Porter to the German Press Agency. The ratings and viewer numbers in the arenas have been rising in Germany for years. And that without a real star of its own.
Schindler and Williams as well as Clemens and England's world-class professional Dave Chisnall will duel one after the other on Wednesday afternoon. Last-minute qualifier Florian Hempel challenges co-favorite Stephen Bunting on Thursday (1:30 p.m.). At the end, top favorite Luke Humphries and German debutant Pietreczko, nicknamed Pikachu, will meet in the evening (9.30 p.m.). With the exception of Schindler, the Germans are outsiders, but this role has suited them more recently. This was also the case at the Team World Cup, when Germany clearly won the quarter-finals against England.
TV expert Robert Marijanovic, who has actively accompanied the journey for a long time, is enthusiastic. “What Gabriel Clemens, Martin Schindler, Florian Hempel and Ricardo Pietreczko are doing at Alexandra Palace is just crazy! This is an incredible moment for German darts,” said Marijanovic on Sport1. German professionals won six out of seven games before the Christmas break. Only the national qualifier Dragutin Horvat lost right at the start.
Only one German remained in London
The duel between Pietreczko and Humphries is particularly explosive. The 29-year-old from Nuremberg is Germany's whiz kid of the year. Cool Hand Luke, as Humphries is known, is the season's top pro and has earned more than twice as much prize money as any other player. "I'll see how it goes. Humphries is just as much of an opponent as Callan Rydz," said Pietreczko.
He defeated the Englishman Rydz 3-2 on December 23rd. Pietreczko is the only German from the quartet who spent Christmas in London. Clemens, Schindler and Hempel had returned home. The three days of Christmas and New Year's Eve are traditionally free of games at the World Cup.