On the journey to another World Cup milestone, only a fireman and guide dog trainer stands in the way of German darts.

The Scottish veteran Alan Soutar is certainly the most unusual remaining professional in the well-known "Ally Pally", which more and more German fans have been visiting since the Christmas break.

On Friday (3:00 p.m. CET on Sport1 and DAZN), Soutar, who has been working for the fire brigade for 18 years and only throws arrows part-time, has the chance to spoil a piece of World Cup history for the Germans.

If he defeats Gabriel Clemens in the round of 16, he will eliminate the last German in the tournament.

“Gabriel doesn't like playing against me.

Of course he's a favourite, he's higher in the rankings than me.

But the favorite doesn't always win," Soutar told the news portal ntv.de in London.

The World Cup offers an almost unique opportunity for the “German Giant”.

After the dramatic 4-3 loss of his buddy Martin Schindler against the English World Cup finalist Michael Smith, all the pressure is on him.

Working at Christmas

Clemens can reach the quarterfinals for the first time without having to beat a seeded player.

"I try to play my game because then I know that I can pose a threat to any opponent.

Then it will be seen whether it is enough and how far it can go," said Clemens on Sky.

If he can repeat the scoring from the first game (3-0 against William O'Connor) and nerves of steel from the second game (4-3 against Jim Williams), the round of the last eight is very close.

But the 44-year-old Soutar is dangerous - and highly unusual.

While the other darts professionals switched off for the holidays and gradually focused on the final phase of the World Cup, Soutar devoted himself to his main job.

“For me, Christmas is not a time to sit back.

I have to work during this time, and that's a good thing, I enjoy it.” He hadn't even thought about quitting the job and playing darts full-time.

“I have my friends in the fire department.

It's no problem at all to reconcile everything."

These friends should be watching closely on Friday, because in addition to Clemens, Soutar can also achieve the greatest success of his career.

But the Scottish underdog can remain calm even ahead of this match.

"For me, darts are on the side.

It calms me down to play darts.

I have no pressure at all to win prize money.

Darts is a hobby, I've experienced pressure in other situations," said Soutar.

Victory or defeat, hit or miss?

For Soutar, who trains guide dogs as a hobby with his wife, luck doesn't seem to depend on that.

For German darts, on the other hand, a lot depends on Soutar's daily form in this round of 16.

The World Cup is already a success with the strong performances of Clemens, Schindler and Florian Hempel.

The leap into the last eight of the World Cup has been eagerly awaited for years - and the chance has never been greater than now.

“As an outsider, Soutar is totally hungry.

I don't think it's going to be that easy.

Technically, this is a top draw.

A name doesn't mean everything, that's always a thing in darts," said Schindler, who was narrowly eliminated, about his compatriot's chances.

Clemens' success story so far is one thing, but Hempel's performances (2:3 against Luke Humphries, fifth in the rankings) and Schindler's lost thriller against "Bully Boy" Smith will also be remembered.

"It's difficult to describe.

I had it right on the pan.

Somehow the victory was within reach, but somehow not," said the 26-year-old after the game, in which a 3-1 lead wasn't enough for a big surprise coup.

Schindler, who was previously without a win at the world's biggest tournament, had a positive World Cup record despite the disappointment.

"I had great moments.

My work has borne many fruits.

There are a lot more positives than negatives," said Schindler, who said he had "a great year" in 2022.

He is now exactly at the level where he wants to be.

This could actually be seen in the darts crime thriller against the stumbling world-class player Smith.

"I have to keep going right there."