The latest World Championship seed profiles focus on two talented 23-year-olds.

Last time out, we looked at the English pair of Steve Beaton and Keegan Brown. This time, we have a more European flavour. Max Hopp and Jeffrey de Zwaan go under the spotlight ahead of their Ally Pally entrance. All odds are provided by World Championship sponsors William Hill, and are correct at time at publication.

Max Hopp

Kelly Deckers/PDC

Photo: Kelly Deckers/PDC

Seed: 24

Age: 23

Nationality: German

Previous World Championship appearances: 6

Best PDC major performance: Semi-Finals, European Championship 2018

Walk-on: Hey Baby – DJ Otzi

Odds to win: 300/1

The problem with rising to stardom so fast is that you can get written off quickly as well. Max Hopp is another wunderkind being told by some social media dwellers that he’s yesterday’s news – despite being 23 years old. That’s younger than the current world youth champion. Yes, 2019 hasn’t been vintage, and there were slumps. Recently, there have been chinks in that metronomic throwing style. But Germany’s poster boy did manage a Players Championship final, a European Tour semi-final, and that incredible 119 average against Ian White.

He also set a new personal best at the UK Open and, 12 months ago, made it to the World Championship third round for the first time. Some chancer called van Gerwen ended that particular run. This time, he’s 24th seed rather than 32nd. That gives him a possible meeting with Ian White on December 22. Cruel fate has intervened to possibly pit him against Gabriel Clemens, the man who critics now believe is outshining him on the German darts scene.

This is a great chance for the Maximiser to remind everyone that his outrageous potential hasn’t come close to being met.

Jeffrey de Zwaan

Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Seed: 23

Age: 23

Nationality: Dutch

Previous World Championship appearances: 2

Best PDC major performance: Semi-Finals, World Matchplay 2018

Walk-on: Could You Be Loved – Bob Marley

Odds to win: 100/1

Through absolutely no fault of his own, Jeffrey de Zwaan won’t be a popular man at the World Championship. That’s because his success in London would possibly mean an early exit for Raymond van Barneveld, ending a career that defines Dutch darts. But there’d be something special about the Leidschendam-born star, one of the generation inspired by Barney, bringing the curtain down on one of the greatest stories in the sport.

None of that will matter much to de Zwaan. It’s all part of the job for one of the brightest young talents in the PDC game. Since his World Championship ended in the second round 12 months ago – albeit in tough circumstances, as he put in the best average of anyone pre-Christmas when losing to Rob Cross – he has won a Players Championship event and established himself as a world-class player.

He’d play Dave Chisnall should he make it to the third round. De Zwaan is naturally confident and will feel he can beat anyone. Last year’s World Matchplay brilliance is a reminder that the feeling is genuinely correct.

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Author: Ed McCosh