For one evening, Berlin becomes the darts capital of Europe. For the first time in the history of the prestigious Premier League, the tournament winner will not be chosen this Monday (9 p.m. / Sport1 and DAZN) on the British Isles, but on the European mainland. “It’s good to see that the highest league in darts is also playing its final in Berlin. This shows that Germany has a huge popularity – this is constantly increasing,” said Germany’s currently best darts player Martin Schindler.

The Dutchman Michael van Gerwen, the Welshman Jonny Clayton and the English duo Joe Cullen and James Wade fight for the coveted trophy, which is worth around 320,000 euros.

“It feels brilliant to be at this elite Premier League club. I’m very nervous and I hope to defend my title,” said Clayton, who, as the reigning champion and clear winner of the main round, is the favorite going into the evening in the Mercedes-Benz Arena. In the 16 mini-tournaments, “The Ferret” secured the most successes of all players with four daily wins. It was the first season in the new mode. In previous years, the preliminary round was still played in the league system before the winner was sought in the play-offs. The number of participants was also reduced from ten to eight players this year.

The new tournament mode is criticized by the fans because of its redundancy. Clayton, who announced in the run-up to the play-offs that he wanted to give up his job as a plasterer for the local city council, met Englishman Michael Smith seven times during the season. There were also seven games between Smith and van Gerwen. Nevertheless, the PDC announced that they wanted to stick to the new format for the coming season. “I was surprised how well it worked. Ratings have gone up,” said federation president Barry Hearn to the Weekly Dartscast. He welcomes the fact that every Premier League evening is complete in itself and finds its winner.

Actually, only one of those mini-tournaments should have taken place in Berlin. The February date was postponed to June due to the corona pandemic – and the German capital was thus the final venue. Last year’s Premier League final should have been held in Berlin.

There are two semi-finals on Monday, followed by the final. Clayton first meets Premier League debutant Cullen, van Gerwen against Wade. At the dress rehearsal at the weekend in Copenhagen, number three and number five in the world already met. In the quarter-finals of the Nordic Darts Masters, Wade clearly won 10:4 against van Gerwen. Clayton and Cullen did not compete in the tournament.

Van Gerwen could catch up with darts great Phil Taylor with his sixth title. If “Mighty Mike” wins, the week would start for him with a curious double: Monday Premier League winner, Tuesday hand surgery. He was treated for some time for carpal tunnel syndrome but now has to undergo surgery.

As a result, van Gerwen will miss the Team World Championships this weekend in Frankfurt/Main. It will be the next big event for German darts fans, and local stars will also be there. Gabriel Clemens and Martin Schindler start with outsider chances. In the first round, however, they are the clear favorites against Spain. Scotland is the defending champion.