Phil Taylor leads field at the 2010 European Championships
Phil Taylor opens his challenge for a third successive PartyPoker.net European Championship title on Thursday, when he takes on Co Stompe as the £200,000 tournament begins in Dinslaken, Germany.
bet365 are streaming the European Championship online throughout the week from Thursday evening onwards. Simply go to bet365 > Live Streaming > Darts to watch the action live*. New customers can claim a £200 free bet using bonus code MAXIMUMBONUS when opening an account
Taylor has lifted the European Championship trophy in each of the past two years since the tournament was launched in 2008.
The world number one travels to the Stadthalle in Dinslaken on a high after winning his 11th World Matchplay last Sunday, as he seeks to win a fourth major title inside three months.
"Winning the World Matchplay was great and I'd love to go on and win the European Championship this weekend," said Taylor. "I'm feeling great and playing well, and winning this would round off a perfect summer."
Taylor takes on Co Stompe in the first round, with the Dutchman having defeated him in the 2008 German Darts Championship final.
"Co has done brilliantly in the last couple of years and he played superbly when he won the German Darts Championship, but that was a different day," added Taylor.
"I put it behind me and so has Co, and we've played a few times since. He did well in the World Matchplay last week and I know he'll want that to continue in Germany."
Stompe followed that German Darts Championship victory with two World Championship quarter-final appearances, as well as winning a Players Championship a month ago and reaching the last eight in Blackpool.
"The win over Phil is in the past and you can't dwell on that because it's history," said Stompe. "It's a new game on Thursday and I've got a hard game against Phil.
"I've turned my game around, because I've been practising on my doubles and they went alright in Blackpool but my scoring let me down.
"I know I can play better than I did in Blackpool, and I'll go up there on Thursday and hopefully give Phil a big fight."
The tournament's opening night will also feature the eagerly-awaited clash between two of the sport's fastest throwers, Jelle Klaasen and Vincent van der Voort.
The Dutch pair have both enjoyed strong form in 2010, while Klaasen - a European Championship semi-finalist last year - reached the quarter-finals of last week's World Matchplay with a slightly slower throwing style.
"I tried to slow down and it felt good," he said. "I'm always trying to improve my game and I've tried something new on stage now, and I played well.
"I think I'll try to play slower now in every tournament. It will be a hard match to play against Vincent because we travel all the time and are good friends, but when we get on stage we're enemies and want to beat each other 6-0."
The players ranked fourth and fifth in the world, Mervyn King and Terry Jenkins, have an opportunity to bounce back from first round exits in the World Matchplay when they face Barrie Bates and Germany's Andree Welge respectively.
Simon Whitlock, the Australian who has jumped to eighth in the PDC Order of Merit following his run to the semi-finals of the World Matchplay, takes on two-time World Champion Dennis Priestley on his European Championship debut.
The tournament will open when Paul Nicholson, January's Players Championship Finals winner, faces Andy Smith - who had minor surgery on a leg injury a week ago but has previously won a Players Championship on the Dinslaken stage.
Gary Anderson, the UK Open finalist who has been troubled by a shoulder injury in recent weeks and lost to Klaasen in Blackpool, meets Jamie Caven, and number eight seed Mark Walsh faces Spanish debutant Antonio Alcinas.
World number two Raymond van Barneveld - who hit a nine-darter in the World Matchplay before losing to Taylor in the final - takes on Andy Hamilton on the second night of play on Friday, while number three seed James Wade faces Colin Lloyd.
German pair Tomas Seyler and Bernd Roith are in action on home soil, with Roith taking on Denis Ovens on his televised debut while Seyler meets Michael van Gerwen - the Dutch youngster who has been sidelined for the past month with a broken collarbone.
PartyPoker.net European Championship - Schedule of Play (go to bet365 > Live Streaming > Darts to watch live):
Thursday July 29
Play commences 8pm German time (7pm UK time)
8.00pm Paul Nicholson v Andy Smith
8.30pm Mark Walsh v Antonio Alcinas
9.00pm Terry Jenkins v Andree Welge
9.30pm Simon Whitlock v Dennis Priestley
10.00pm Gary Anderson v Jamie Caven
10.30pm Phil Taylor v Co Stompe
11.00pm Jelle Klaasen v Vincent van der Voort
11.30pm Mervyn King v Barrie Bates
Friday July 30
Play commences 8pm German time (7pm UK time)
8.00pm Bernd Roith v Denis Ovens
8.30pm Mark Dudbridge v Robert Thornton
9.00pm Adrian Lewis v Wayne Jones
9.30pm Tomas Seyler v Michael van Gerwen
10.00pm James Wade v Colin Lloyd
10.30pm Raymond van Barneveld v Andy Hamilton
11.00pm Colin Osborne v Wes Newton
11.30pm Ronnie Baxter v Alan Tabern
Saturday July 31
Afternoon Session - Play commences 2pm German time (1pm UK time)
Evening Session - Play Commences 8pm German time (7pm UK time)
Sunday August 1
Afternoon Session (Quarter-Finals) - Play commences 2pm German time (1pm UK time)
Evening Session (Semi-finals & Final) - Play commences 8pm German time (7pm UK time)
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