"Many have written him off a bit, maybe that gives him extra motivation" - Robert Marijanovic refuses to rule out Michael Smith ahead of World Darts Championship defence

Michael van Gerwen and Luke Humphries recently provided a delightful final at the Players Championship Finals, and the two world-class players could face each other again at the World Darts Championship in December.

The Dutchman and the Englishman are in the same half of play, though, which means they could meet in the semifinals this time. According to German analyst Robert Marijanovic, Van Gerwen and Humphries are the top favourites for the world title. ''They should be named at the very front,'' Marijanovic told Sport1. ''Behind them there is a relatively wide field of favourites. Players like Gerwyn Price and Peter Wright have been volatile with their performances.''

However, Marijanovic does not want to write off reigning world champion Michael Smith just yet. 'Bullyboy' has not yet shown top form since his equipment supplier switch in July, but that says nothing according to Marijanovic.

"It may also be that he will come to the World Darts Championship with a little more rest. It has been a stressful year for him. Many have written him off a bit, maybe that gives him extra motivation," thinks the former German darter of Croatian origin.

The upcoming edition of the World Darts Championship will be a special one for Germany, as for the first time five German players will compete at Alexandra Palace. "We are in a very good position at the moment. We are now at the peak of German darts history,'' Marijanovic concluded.

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