Live Darts on Friday: German Darts Masters 2017 Day One preview and order of play

Gary Anderson acknowledges the crowd (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The inaugural World Series event on German soil gets underway on Friday night as the PDC stars take on the regional qualifiers in Dusseldorf.

The seventh and final World Series event of the season encapsulates the growing popularity of the sport in Germany, with the leading eight players from the current World Series rankings joined by a series of qualifiers and wildcards.

The pick of the First Round ties sees number one seed Gary Anderson up against Germany's top ranked player - Max Hopp.

Anderson, winner in both Dubai and Perth this year, bids to silence the partisan German crowd by knocking out the world number 44 and former World Youth Champion.

Twenty-year-old Hopp was handed a wildcard entry into the competition and will be determined to prove he is not here just to make up the numbers.

Phil Taylor returns to competitive action for the first time since his Semi-Final exit in the Champions League a month ago as he takes on Robert Marijanovic.

Taylor opted out of the World Grand Prix and has not featured in any ProTour or European Tour events this season as he scales down his playing schedule ahead of retirement at the end of the year.

He will be wary of the threat posed by German-born Croatian Marijanovic, who has featured in two PDC World Championships and was a quarter-finalist with Croatia at the 2013 World Cup of Darts.

All eyes will be on reigning World Champion and world number one Michael van Gerwen as he comes up against emerging star Martin Schindler in the final match of the evening.

Van Gerwen quickly atoned for his shock First Round exit at the World Grand Prix by winning last weekend's European Trophy and unsurprisingly starts out as odds-on favourite for glory here.

He is poised for his third encounter with Schindler this year, having defeated the youngster in the Quarter-Finals of both the World Cup of Darts and Austrian Open.

Schindler has climbed to 80th in the Order of Merit since earning his Tour Card at Qualifying School in January and has produced some of his best performances on the European Tour as well as winning a Development Tour event last month.

Two familiar faces collide in perhaps the most closely-matched tie of the opening round as stablemates Kyle Anderson and Mensur Suljovic go head-to-head.

Both players have captured their first televised titles this season, with Suljovic triumphing in the Champions League and Anderson in the Auckland Masters.

World number seven Suljovic is making his World Series debut and is out to claim only a second ever win over 'The Original' in seven attempts.

Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld opens up the action with a clash against Host Nation hopeful Stefan Stoyke.

Van Barneveld finished runner-up in the Perth Masters this summer and also partnered MVG to World Cup glory in Frankfurt and will be out to make more memories in Germany this weekend.

He faces German Superleague runner-up Stoyke - who has featured in a host of European Tour events in recent years but is now set to make his TV debut.

Daryl Gurney now has a new weight of expectation on his shoulders following his World Grand Prix triumph and will be out to avert a scalp at the hands of Austria's Maik Langendorf.

UK Open champion Peter Wright, a five-time winner on the European Tour this year, aims to safely overcome Dragutin Horvat - who competed in the 2017 World Championship.

World number ten James Wade looks to record a much-needed win on the big stage by dispatching former World Championship participant and fellow left-hander Kevin Munch.

The action gets underway from 7pm BST, with all matches to be contested over the best of 11 legs at the Castello Arena in Dusseldorf.

German Darts Masters 2017 Schedule

All times BST (local time one hour ahead)

Friday October 20

First Round

7.15pm Raymond van Barneveld v Stefan Stoyke
7.45pm Daryl Gurney v Maik Langendorf
8.15pm James Wade v Kevin Munch
8.45pm Kyle Anderson v Mensur Suljovic
9.15pm Gary Anderson v Max Hopp
9.45pm Peter Wright v Dragutin Horvat
10.15pm Phil Taylor v Robert Marijanovic
10.45pm Michael van Gerwen v Martin Schindler

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Live Darts on Friday: German Darts Masters 2017 Day One preview and order of play

The inaugural World Series event on German soil gets underway on Friday night as the PDC stars take on the regional qualifiers in Dusseldorf.

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