The opening day of the German Darts Grand Prix sees the 32 qualifiers battling it out on Saturday across the two sessions of play with the aim for everyone involved being quite simple – win and set up a clash with a seed on Sunday.
Although we only have the qualifiers on show in Berlin on Saturday there are still plenty of household names that take to the stage including the home favourites Max Hopp and Martin Schindler. Raymond van Barneveld and Dave Chisnall also headline the action.
We begin with the big Croatian ace Boris Krcmar who takes on Luke Woodhouse to open up the tournament. Once they are done a couple of European players who have a big opportunity this weekend meet when Daniel Larsson goes up against Berry van Peer. Another European youngster will compete in match three when the Czech star Adam Gawlas meets Martin Lukeman. We are taken into the break by the former world finalist Jim Williams. He will meet Wesley Plaisier.
There would usually be four matches after the interval but with Krzysztof Ratajski withdrawing so late on there wasn’t time to find a replacement which means we are down to three with Karel Sedlacek having a bye. The first of those three matches sees Keegan Brown taking on Adam Hunt before the former world champion Scott Waites goes up against Dragutin Horvat. The other match in this session sees John O’Shea facing Chris Dobey.
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We have a packed evening session to enjoy on Saturday and it gets underway with Kim Huybrechts taking on Madars Razma in what should be an entertaining game. The home crowd will be looking forward to the second match of the evening as their star Max Hopp takes to the stage to take on Alan Soutar. Danny Baggish will then begin his campaign against Thomas Junghans before we are taken into the interval by our pre-tournament outright bet Keane Barry who faces Lukas Wenig.
There will be a relentless pace throughout the remainder of the evening with two of the quickest in the business bringing us out of the interval as Jeffrey de Zwaan meets Vincent van der Voort before the German number two Martin Schindler takes to the stage. Jermaine Wattimena will be his opponent. We then conclude with the two biggest names on show as Raymond van Barneveld faces James Wilson and Dave Chisnall goes up against Ryan Meikle.
I like Max Hopp at odds against in this round of matches. Alan Soutar had a good World Championship but it was one which lived a charmed life and we know he has plenty of things going on away from the darts with his job and such like. That has been reflected in his results in recent times with him having won just four of his 16 matches since the beginning of March. A couple of those wins were over Gary Blades who has no tour card and Glen Durrant who has no form at all.
Hopp isn’t much better off in the form department having lost his last five matches but he has generally lost to some decent opponents in that time with his five successors being Gary Anderson, Josh Rock, Jermaine Wattimena, Keane Barry and Brendan Dolan. Prior to the first of those losses though he did beat Soutar in an earlier round of a Players Championship and beat him well with a 6-2 score. The big difference between then and now is he’ll have the crowd right behind him so I fancy Hopp to frank that form and win this at a decent price.
Back M.Hopp to beat A.Soutar for a 3/10 stake at 2.50 with Betfair
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