Florian Hempel secured his spot at the 2022/23 Cazoo World Darts Championship after defeating Niko Springer in a thrilling Interwetten PDC Europe Super League final in Niedernhausen on Friday.
Hempel recovered from 6-2 down to deny Springer in a dramatic contest, closing out a 10-8 victory to book his Alexandra Palace return and avenge his defeat to Martin Schindler in last year’s final.
The 32-year-old spurned match darts in the 2021 showpiece against Schindler, but he made amends in some style, coming through a gruelling five days at the H+ Hotel to seal his World Championship place.
The fifth and final day of the PDC Europe Super League – featuring 24 of Germany’s top stars – saw the quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals take place on a blockbuster afternoon of action, following the previous four days of round-robin competition.
Hempel averaged 96 and landed two ton-plus finishes in his 7-5 victory over Dragutin Horvat in the last eight, before he recovered from 4-1 down to edge out Daniel Klose in a last-leg shoot-out in the semi-finals.
Springer - a product of the Winmau Development & Challenge Tours - also came through a decider in his quarter-final win over ProTour semi-finalist Ricardo Pietreczko.
The 22-year-old then fired in five 180s in his semi-final success against Lukas Wenig, taking out a stunning 134 finish to complete an 8-6 victory.
Hempel made a confident start in Friday’s final, racing into a 2-0 lead with two-dart 72 and 89 combinations, only for Springer to restore parity at two apiece with a 13-darter followed by a 112 kill.
Following a scrappy fifth leg, Springer continued his charge with legs of 11 and 14 darts, before making it six legs on the spin with a 13-dart break in leg eight as Hempel began to falter on the outer ring.
The former European Championship qualifier came roaring back however, following up a second maximum with a 12-darter, which sparked a run of four consecutive legs as he levelled the tie at 6-6.
The pair exchanged holds as the darting drama continued, but Hempel regained the initiative in a crucial 15th leg, converting a clinical 81 finish to break throw in 12 darts.
Springer prolonged proceedings with a nerveless 74 outshot to reduce the deficit to 9-8, yet Hempel wasn’t to be denied, sealing the deal via double 10 after missing tops for a sensational 157 checkout in the previous visit.
Despite Hempel’s heroics, Lukas Wenig produced the performance of the day in Niedernhausen, averaging over 100 to dispatch Franz Rötzsch 7-3 in the quarter-finals.
Elsewhere, Klose dumped out former World Championship qualifier Rene Eidams at the same stage, only to surrender a three-leg lead against Hempel in the semi-finals.
Former handball star Hempel will now make his Alexandra Palace return in December, having starred on debut in the capital 12 months ago, dumping out Dimitri Van den Bergh before succumbing in round three.
2022 Interwetten PDC Europe Super League
H+ Hotel, Niedernhausen
Friday November 11
Florian Hempel 7-5 Dragutin Horvat
Daniel Klose 7-5 Rene Eidams
Lukas Wenig 7-3 Franz Rötzsch
Niko Springer 7-6 Ricardo Pietreczko
Florian Hempel 8-7 Daniel Klose
Niko Springer 8-6 Lukas Wenig
Florian Hempel 10-8 Niko Springer