Martin Schindler and Nico Kurz stunned Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson on a thrilling opening night of the 2019 German Darts Masters, which also saw Gabriel Clemens beat Raymond van Barneveld in Cologne on Friday.
The second World Series of Darts event of the year got underway with eight top PDC stars taking on eight German representatives, as 22-year-old fans' favourite Schindler produced an incredible comeback from 5-1 down.
With 12-time World Series event winner Van Gerwen seemingly cruising through the quarter-finals, the world number one missed three match darts across two legs, allowing Schindler to make a perfectly-timed sprint to the finish line to raise the roof at the Lanxess Arena.
"It's an amazing feeling, I just can't even put it into words," said two-time World Cup of Darts quarter-finalist Schindler.
"I was shaking so much, I don't know how I won that game but I did it and right now I'm just so, so happy.
"This may be the biggest win of my career, I'm not even sure at the moment but when it sinks in I think it will be my biggest win."
Schindler will play Mensur Suljovic in Saturday's final session after the reigning champion got his bid for back-to-back titles off to an ideal start as he secured a dominant 6-2 win over the experienced Maik Langendorf.
Earlier in the night, another 22-year-old German Kurz produced one of the biggest shocks ever seen on the World Series with a sensational 6-4 win over two-time World Champion Anderson.
Kurz, who was making just his second televised appearance having missed darts to beat Jamie Lewis at the 2018 event, raised the roof with a 170 finish to take a 3-2 lead.
Six-time World Series event winner Anderson produced skin-saving checkouts of 138 and 79 to stay in the contest and trail 5-4, before Kurz coolly pinned double eight to seal a memorable victory.
"This is the biggest win of my career, I think I've never been so happy in my life," said Kurz, who became the first German winner on the World Series.
"Gary has always been a role model for me, he is one of the best players of all time. I still can't believe what I achieved today.
"I tried to focus on my game and not to pay attention to Gary or the amazing crowd, and I think it went pretty well!"data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw==
Kurz's next assignment will see him face Peter Wright after the reigning Melbourne Darts Masters champion fought off a spirited fightback from Robert Marijanovic to claim a 6-4 win.
Schindler and Kurz will be joined in the last eight by German number three Clemens, who dumped out four-time World Series event finalist Van Barneveld with a comprehensive 6-3 success.
The rising German star, who has reached three ranking finals in the last 14 months, flew out of the traps into a commanding 3-0 lead, before Van Barneveld rallied to cut the deficit to one leg.
However, Clemens' dominance resumed as he took three of the last four legs to wrap up a comfortable victory and set up a meeting with Rob Cross who didn't miss a dart at double in his clinical 6-4 success over German number one Max Hopp.
Last year's World Series of Darts Finals winner James Wade produced a clinical display to defeat Kevin Munch 6-2, and he will take on Daryl Gurney who also picked up a 6-2 win over TV debutant Christian Bunse.
The German Darts Masters concludes with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final on Day Two.
2019 German Darts Masters
Schedule of Play
Friday July 12
James Wade 6-2 Kevin Munch
Nico Kurz 6-4 Gary Anderson
Daryl Gurney 6-2 Christian Bunse
Peter Wright 6-4 Robert Marijanovic
Gabriel Clemens 6-3 Raymond van Barneveld
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Maik Langendorf
Martin Schindler 6-5 Michael van Gerwen
Rob Cross 6-4 Max Hopp
Saturday July 13 (2000 start local time)
Peter Wright v Nico Kurz
Daryl Gurney v James Wade
Martin Schindler v Mensur Suljovic
Rob Cross v Gabriel Clemens
Wright/Kurz v Gurney/Wade
Schindler/Suljovic v Cross/Clemens
All games best of 15 legs