Ricardo Pietreczko’s pictures were emblematic of the quick German end at Alexandra Palace. The defeated Pietreczko stood a little lost on the largest darts stage in the world and had to watch as opponent Luke Humphries exuberantly and loudly celebrated his impressive World Cup comeback.

“It’s very, very annoying,” said Pietreczko, nicknamed Pikachu, after the extremely bitter 3:4 despite a temporary 3:1 lead. He hadn’t yet fully understood this twist in the crazy darts temple in London.

Quality and rip-off were lacking

The relationships between Germany and darts’ motherland England were clearly clarified immediately after Christmas. All four duels in the third round went to the local heroes. While England longs for their next triumph in the Ally Pally a year after Michael Smith’s World Cup title, the adventure for the German quartet in north London has ended prematurely. “You have to take the positive with you,” said Florian Hempel, who had no chance despite a decent performance in the 4-0 defeat against Stephen Bunting on Thursday.

The quartet Pietreczko, Hempel, Gabriel Clemens and Martin Schindler would have loved to repeat Clemens’ unexpected semi-final coup from the previous year. But this time there was either a lack of quality (Clemens clearly lost 1:4 against Dave Chisnall) or a rip-off in the crucial moments. In addition to Pietreczko, Schindler also had to say goodbye after a 3:4. From the World Cup round of 16 onwards, things will continue without German participation. This has always been the case with the exception of 2021 and 2023.

No German in the top 20

“I have to say, the anger outweighs the frustration – because it was 3-1,” said Pietreczko. The 29-year-old from Nuremberg had the big surprise in mind. A coup over the weakening Humphries would have crowned his great year for the time being. But despite the huge support of the German fans for Pietreczko, the top favorite found his way back to his game in time and won sets five, six and seven with a strong performance. Even after the World Cup, no German professional will be among the top 20 in the world rankings.

While the unseeded Pietreczko and Hempel met expectations with two wins, the early knockout is likely. In round three, the established duo Clemens and Schindler faced more problems. Even before the World Cup, Schindler had said: “I think you can see overall that the Germans are getting closer and closer. But getting closer is not enough for the Germans. The Germans would like to see tournament victories.”

2024 opportunities in Frankfurt and Dortmund

This also applied exactly to the days in the Ally Pally – especially before Christmas. The Germans did well, but others will be playing for the big Sid Waddell Trophy after the turn of the year and until January 3rd.

What will 2024 bring for the quartet and the other German professionals? In any case, enough chances to do better in front of your own audience. The World Team Championships in Frankfurt in June and the European Championships in Dortmund are highlights of the season, before we head back to the all-star World Cup in London in mid-December.

In Clemens, Schindler and Pietreczko, three professionals are now among the world’s best. Both the 40-year-old Clemens and Schindler (27) have one flaw: Neither have won a title with the PDC world association so far.