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German Masters Preview

The German Masters gets under way on Wednesday at the Tempodrom in Berlin.

Mark Selby Germany

Mark Selby has been world no.1 since his victory here 12 months ago – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

This ranking event has become one of the favourites for both players and fans alike since its return to the calendar in 2011.

The wonderful venue which has a capacity of 2500, coupled with the German fans who show so much enthusiasm for the game, has really endeared the tournament to the wider audience.

It’s a shame then that so many of the sport’s star players are not in attendance this week having failed to qualify in England back in December.

Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson, John Higgins and Ding Junhui were all dumped in the two preliminary rounds which took place in Barnsley.

The scheduling and format is what it is so the competitors who failed to reach the latter stages can really have very little issue, other than with their own performance – or lack thereof.

However, it is becoming an increasingly persistent occurrence that these events lose their box-office protagonists in a far away cubicle.

Thankfully, at least for this tournament it shouldn’t effect the ticket sales too much given how receptive the German fans are to all the players involved.

There are still, of course, plenty of high-profile names left in the draw at any rate and it is someone among those that most will be expecting will lift the title come Sunday.

World no.1 Mark Selby will begin as one of the favourites and the defending champion will begin his quest for a first ranking title of the campaign against Steven Hallworth.

Arguably the tie of the opening round sees 2013 champion Ali Carter take on Judd Trump, who many believe is on the cusp of a great run.

On the Irish front, Ken Doherty faces Stephen Maguire while fellow Dubliner Fergal O’Brien has world champion Stuart Bingham for company in the last 32.

Shaun Murphy will be hoping to erase the memory of a disappointing Masters defence last month as he meets Ben Woollaston while Mark Williams, who won Group 4 in the Championship League last week, is paired in an intriguing tie with Australian Open runner-up Martin Gould.

Meanwhile, UK Championship finalist Liang Wenbo and Ryan Day go head to head, and Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen tackles namesake Mark Joyce.

Among the other encounters to keep an eye on is an interesting battle between two of the up and coming stars of the future in Luca Brecel and Zhao Xintong.

Plenty to look forward to then over the coming few days.

Click here for the full draw.

Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.