It's round 11 of the 13-event European Tour with Luke Humphries leading a stellar field off to Jena for the German Darts Open.
With defending champion Michael Van Gerwen sitting it out, prolific Euro winner Humphries is promoted to No.1 seed at the Sparkassen Arena.
Humphries has won four of the ten events played across Europe over the course of 2022 and has to be confident of landing number five with the likes of Van Gerwen and Michael Smith choosing not to travel.
After the 13th event – the Gibraltar Darts Trophy – the top-ranked 32 players from the order of merit will head to Dortmund at the end of October for the European Championship.
German Darts Open
Sparkassen Arena, Jena, Germany
Friday 9th – Sunday 11th September, 2022
How to watch
Luke Humphries is still awaiting a first major title or a Premier League invite, but when it comes to mopping up prizes in Europe in 2022, he's in a class of his own.
'Cool Hand' as he is known, heads the European Tour order of merit as he chases down the top seeding at next month's European Championship.
Of the ten events played so far, Humphries has won four of them, three of them in Germany. Humphries has also had a win on the Pro Tour.
The Englishman opens up in round two against either Sweden's Daniel Larsson or Jamie Hughes with, if the seedings are your guide, Dave Chisnall his opponent in the last 16.
The absence of Michael van Gerwen – recent winner of the World Matchplay and Queensland Masters as well as triumphant in three European events – makes the contest look wide open.
Having said that, Van Gerwen was an early casualty in Hungary last week – the tenth event of the 13 – in a contest where the seeds suffered. Eleven of the 16 seeds crashed in round two, a record for any PDC event and proof that anyone can beat anyone on the circuit eight now.
The man who benefited most of all from last week's carnage in Budapest was Joe Cullen, who snuck through on the rails, didn't meet a single seed, and walked off with the top prize after hammering Willie O'Connor in the final.
Rockstar had been in good form anyway having reached the semis in Queensland and New South Wales.
Cullen opens up against Joe Murnan, who he has beaten eight times of their nine meetings.
The withdrawals of Van Gerwen and Smith mean Martin Schindler has been promoted to seeded status, which guarantees the German crowd a home star on Saturday's coupon.
Schindler will play either Danny van Trijp or John Henderson for the right to meet Gerwyn Price in round two – probably. Price would have to see off talented young Welsh compatriot Lewy Williams first, but Gezzy will be happy enough at that prospect.
The other Germans taking part are Lukas Wenig, who meets Alan Soutar, Gabriel Clemens, who shackles Martin Lukeman, and Darguvin Horvat. He needs to take down Jeff Smith for the right to play Jose de Sousa.
The current crop of PDC aces are taking the game to a new level – but the old guard aren't done with just yet.
Among those in the hunt for the £25,000 first prize this weekend will be 55-year-old Raymond van Barneveld and the daddy of them all, 58-year-old Steve Beaton. And they are all still throwing some useful tungsten.
All three had to qualify for Jena and all three did it well – Barney saw off Simon Whitlock in his final qualifier, while Beaton averaged 118 in a 6-1 hammering of Jon Worsley.
Neither are provisionally in the field for next month's European Championship so are desperate to pick up some points in Jena – and clearly won't be pushovers.
Beaton has a bye into round two where he meets Nathan Aspinall while Barney first goes up against Ian White for the right to play Peter Wright in the last 32.
And Wright, of course, has only just returned from a gallstones op and was among the many seeds who crashed early last weekend.