MICHAEL VAN GERWEN is hoping to make it five Unibet European Championship titles in a row at this weekend's highly-anticipated Dortmund event.

Van Gerwen first claimed glory in Europe in 2014 and went on to repeat the feat at the following three stagings of the tournament, posting incredible final-winning averages of 107, 108 and 111.

This weekend's £400,000 event, which begins on Thursday, is a culmination of the year's 13 European Tour events, of which the Dutchman has won eight, with the 32 qualifiers earning their places based on the final European Tour Order of Merit.

Top seed Van Gerwen headlines the opening night with a first round clash against Paul Nicholson, and the world number one is feeling confident of making it five European crowns in a row.

Michael van Gerwen (PDC)

“To win this tournament five years in a row would be incredible and it is something that I am really determined to do," said Van Gerwen.

“Nobody ever did that before so it would be something really special to me and it adds a little bit of extra motivation but of course I can only stay focused for one game at a time.

“I’m looking forward to the game against Paul Nicholson. He is someone I know well and he has being doing well again this year which is great to see – you have to perform to qualify for this tournament.

“But I think I will have too much for him if I am anywhere near my best. If I play like I can I will have too much for anybody.

“The European Championship is like the finals for the whole European Tour and I have been very dominant on that so I want to make sure it is my name on the trophy at end of it."

European Championship Arena (PDC)

The second round begins on Friday night as the winners of Thursday's matches return to the stage, with Saturday's evening session concluding the quarter-final line-up.

The Unibet European Championship then concludes on Sunday October 28, with the quarter-finals in the afternoon session followed by the semi-finals and final in the evening session.

The Unibet European Championship will be held from October 25-28 at the Westfalenhalle in Dortmund, and screened live on ITV4 and through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners.

For tickets, please visit the PDC Europe website.

Unibet European Championship
Schedule of Play
Thursday October 25 (2000 local time, 1900 UK time)

First Round x8
Steve West v Mervyn King
Ian White v Richard North
Simon Whitlock v Steve Beaton
Michael Smith v Steve Lennon
Joe Cullen v Jelle Klaasen
Michael van Gerwen v Paul Nicholson
Rob Cross v Danny Noppert
Peter Wright v Jermaine Wattimena

Friday October 26
Afternoon Session (1345 local time, 1245 UK time)

First Round x8
Jonny Clayton v James Wilson
Darren Webster v Stephen Bunting
Gerwyn Price v Kyle Anderson
Mensur Suljovic v Cristo Reyes
Daryl Gurney v Ricky Evans
Max Hopp v William O'Connor
James Wade v Martin Schindler
Adrian Lewis v Dave Chisnall

Evening Session (2000 local time, 1900 UK time)
Second Round x4
Cullen/Klaasen v Smith/Lennon
Whitlock/Beaton v Wright/Wattimena
White/North v Cross/Noppert
Van Gerwen/Nicholson v West/King

Saturday October 27 (2000 local time, 1900 UK time)
Second Round x4
Price/Anderson v Lewis/Chisnall
Suljovic/Reyes v Webster/Bunting
Wade/Schindler v Gurney/Evans
Hopp/O'Connor v Clayton/Wilson

Sunday October 28
Afternoon Session (1345 local time, 1245 UK time)

Quarter-Finals

Evening Session (2000 local time, 1900 UK time)
Semi-Finals
Final

Draw Bracket
(1) Michael van Gerwen v (32) Paul Nicholson
(16) Steve West v (17) Mervyn King
(8) Simon Whitlock v (25) Steve Beaton
(9) Peter Wright v (24) Jermaine Wattimena
(5) Joe Cullen v (28) Jelle Klaasen
(12) Michael Smith v (21) Steve Lennon
(4) Ian White v (29) Richard North
(13) Rob Cross v (20) Danny Noppert
(2) Mensur Suljovic v (31) Cristo Reyes
(15) Darren Webster v (18) Stephen Bunting
(7) Max Hopp v (26) William O'Connor
(10) Jonny Clayton v (23) James Wilson
(6) James Wade v (27) Martin Schindler
(11) Daryl Gurney v (22) Ricky Evans
(3) Gerwyn Price v (30) Kyle Anderson
(14) Adrian Lewis v (19) Dave Chisnall

Format
First Round - Best of 11 legs
Second Round - Best of 19 legs
Quarter-Finals - Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals - Best of 21 legs
Final - Best of 21 legs

Prize Fund
Winner £100,000
Runner-Up £40,000
Semi-Finalists £20,000
Quarter-Finalists £15,000
Second Round Losers £10,000
First Round Losers £5,000
Total £400,000
Nine-Darter Bonus £15,000