Simon Whitlock will open his defence of the European Championship title with a first round clash against Belgian ace Kim Huybrechts when the tournament is held at the RWE Sporthalle in Muelheim, Germany from July 4-7.

European Championship

Defending Champ – Lawrence Lustig/PDC

The Australian claimed the first major title of his career when he defeated Wes Newton in last year’s final in Muelheim – having also overcome Huybrechts 11-9 in the semi-finals.

The Belgian will get the chance to avenge that loss when they meet in the first round of this year’s tournament next month, after being drawn with the number five seed.

Newton, the world number seven, will face Holland’s Jelle Klaasen in the first round, while world number one Phil Taylor – a four-time European Champion – drew another Dutch ace, Vincent van der Voort.

Number two seed Michael van Gerwen will meet Belgium’s Kurt Van De Rijck, while world number three Adrian Lewis plays Austria’s Mensur Suljovic, number four seed James Wade takes on former Lakeside Champion Mark Webster, Andy Hamilton plays Terry Jenkins and Raymond van Barneveld meets German hope Tomas Seyler.

The event’s other German qualifier, teenager Max Hopp, will mark his European Championship debut against Paul Nicholson, while Saturday’s Players Championship winner Peter Wright was drawn against Colin Lloyd.

Canada’s three-time World Champion John Part drew Kevin Painter, Robert Thornton meets Brendan Dolan, Stuart Kellett takes on Ronny Huybrechts, Jamie Caven plays Dave Chisnall, Ronnie Baxter plays Mervyn King and Justin Pipe drew Finland’s Jani Haavisto, the Scandinavian Order of Merit leader.

The 32-player tournament will be held from July 4-7 at the RWE Sporthalle in Muelheim, Germany, and televised live on ITV4 in the UK.

The top 16 players in the PDC Order of Merit qualify by right for the tournament, with the top eight seeded for the first round draw.

The event also features eight qualifiers from the ProTour Order of Merit, seven qualifiers from the European Order of Merit and Scandinavian Order of Merit leader Jani Haavisto.

Gary Anderson dropped out of the world’s top 16 following the Crawley weekend and still qualified for the European Championship through the ProTour Order of Merit, but pulled out through illness and is replaced by Mark Webster.

Colin Lloyd held on to the final ProTour Order of Merit qualifying place, with Andy Smith missing out following a quarter-final defeat to eventual winner Michael van Gerwen in Crawley.

Tickets for the European Championship can be purchased via European Championship

First Round Draw & Tournament Bracket

Phil Taylor (1) v Vincent van der Voort
Stuart Kellett v Ronny Huybrechts
Raymond van Barneveld (8) v Tomas Seyler
Robert Thornton v Brendan Dolan
Simon Whitlock (5) v Kim Huybrechts
Colin Lloyd v Peter Wright
James Wade (4) v Mark Webster
Jamie Caven v Dave Chisnall
Michael van Gerwen (2) v Kurt Van De Rijck
Ronnie Baxter v Mervyn King
Wes Newton (7) v Jelle Klaasen
Jani Haavisto v Justin Pipe
Andy Hamilton (6) v Terry Jenkins
Max Hopp v Paul Nicholson
Adrian Lewis (3) v Mensur Suljovic
Kevin Painter v John Part

PDC Order of Merit Qualifiers
(Top Eight Seeded)
1 Phil Taylor (England)
2 Michael van Gerwen (Netherlands)
3 Adrian Lewis (England)
4 James Wade (England)
5 Simon Whitlock (Australia)
6 Andy Hamilton (England)
7 Wes Newton (England)
8 Raymond van Barneveld (Netherlands)
9 Justin Pipe (England)
10 Dave Chisnall (England)
11 Robert Thornton (Scotland)
12 Kevin Painter (England)
13 Mervyn King (England)
14 Kim Huybrechts (Belgium)
15 Brendan Dolan (Northern Ireland)
16 Terry Jenkins (England)

ProTour Order of Merit Qualifiers
Jamie Caven (England)
Peter Wright (Scotland)
John Part (Canada)
Stuart Kellett (England)
Paul Nicholson (Australia)
Gary Anderson (Scotland) replaced by Mark Webster (Wales)
Ronnie Baxter (England)
Colin Lloyd (England)

European Order of Merit Qualifiers
Mensur Suljovic (Austria)
Jelle Klaasen (Netherlands)
Tomas Seyler (Germany)
Max Hopp (Germany)
Kurt Van De Rijck (Belgium)
Ronny Huybrechts (Belgium)
Vincent van der Voort (Netherlands)

Scandinavian Order of Merit Leader
Jani Haavisto (Finland)