Michael van Gerwen survived a match dart in the deciding leg of the Premier League Darts final as he beat Joe Cullen 11-10 to pocket the £275,000 top prize.
The Dutchman's sixth Premier League title is his first since 2019 and sees him equal the record of Phil Taylor, who he beat in his first of eight finals way back in 2013.
It was comfortably the most compelling crescendos to a season since MVG survived six match darts to beat Peter Wright by the same scoreline in 2017 while it's just the second ever to go the distance in the tournament's 18-year history.
The new-look regular season featured 109 matches across 16 long nights of action since the start of February but the 112th and final contest was arguably the most gripping of the lot.
Few would have expected Cullen to to be involved at the very end of a memorable debut campaign having only earned his spot at the 11th hour by winning the season-opening Masters - just as defending champion Jonny Clayton did 12 months earlier - yet he came agonisingly close to repeating the Ferret's famous double when narrowly missing double 16 at the death.
The Rockstar, who interestingly qualified for the play-offs despite having the lowest average and worst doubling stats in the regular season, can still be consoled by a cheque of £125,000 which somewhat makes a mockery of the saying 'trebles for show, doubles for dough'.
“I have been going through a really tough time, so to win this title means a lot to me,” reflected an emotional Van Gerwen, who will undergo surgery on his injured throwing arm on Tuesday and miss this week's World Cup of Darts.
“I’m a happy man. Joe Cullen was phenomenal in that final. What a day. I’m over the moon.
“Of course I am going for more titles now. To have won this trophy here in Berlin is amazing.
“This last 18 months has hurt me. I know what I’m capable of, but this crowd in Germany today, they were absolutely sensational. I think they were a credit to the sport.”
Van Gerwen looked in full command when opening up a 6-4 lead at the interval just like he did during his 10-4 semi-final victory over James Wade earlier in the night but Cullen bounced back with three legs in a row to edge ahead.
The next five legs went with throw as MVG levelled matters at 9-9 before a superb checkout of 92 with Cullen waiting on 74 completed a 12-dart break of throw that put him one away from glory.
However, van Gerwen failed to find a treble in all 15 of his darts in the next leg as Cullen comfortably broke back to force a decider which he was favourite to win when a visit of 139 left him 68 and his opponent failed to take out 120.
However the Bradford ace failed to pin double 16 with his last dart in hand and MVG made him pay by pinning double 14 at the first attempt to get his hands back on the famous trophy.
“Michael is a fantastic player and a fantastic champion, but I am absolutely gutted,” admitted Cullen, who was bidding to become the third successive debutant to be crowned Premier League champion after Glen Durrant and Clayton.
“I cannot believe I’ve lost, but credit to Michael, he is a great guy and a wonderful champion.
“I think the second leg cost me, missing three at 32 for a break of throw. I’m absolutely devastated.”
Joe Cullen saved one of his best performances of the entire Premier League season for the semi-finals to defeat Jonny Clayton 10-4 and guarantee himself the biggest payday of his career.
The debutant, who sealed his place in the line-up by winning the Masters back in January just like defending champion Clayton did 12 months earlier, will now pocket a minimum of £125,000 or a top prize of £275,000 in tonight's final in Berlin.
Cullen had only averaged over 100 on just one occasion during his 26 group stage matches and that was way back in February but he doubled that tally with a mark of 100.76 thanks largely to his 11 maximums.
Clayton began the night as favourite having topped the table with a string of consistently brilliant displays throughout the regular season but on the biggest night of all he failed to find his A-game and missed 10 of his 14 darts at doubles.
Michael van Gerwen later booked his place in an eighth Premier League Darts final with a resounding 10-4 victory over James Wade.
MVG, who lifted the first of his five titles against Phil Taylor way back in 2013, has been troubled by a hand injury in recent weeks but a day before undergoing surgery to resolve it, he averaged 99.76 to set up a clash with Cullen.
It looked set to be an entertaining war of attrition when Wade responded to MVG's checkout of 110 in the third leg with a clinical 101 in the fourth but after getting back on level terms at 3-3 in the sixth, the Machine faded away.
The Dutchman opened up a 6-4 by the interval but then raced away to the finish line by winning the next three legs before finishing the job with a classy 11-darter.
* The matches played totals in these stats obviously don't include the the 6-0 walkovers wins for Cullen v Price, Cullen v Wade and Van Gerwen v Anderson
MOST 180s & 180s PER LEG
* The legs played totals in these stats obviously don't include the six legs in the 6-0 walkovers wins for Cullen v Price, Cullen v Wade and Van Gerwen v Anderson
DOUBLES AND CHECKOUT PERCENTAGE
* The doubles hit totals in these stats obviously don't include the six legs 'won' in 6-0 walkovers victory for Cullen v Price, Cullen v Wade and Van Gerwen v Anderson
100+ CHECKOUTS, HIGHEST CHECKOUTS & % LEGS WON WITH 100+ CHECKOUT