The 35-year-old Englishman won his first, and currently only major ranking title in last years event, defeating Belgian Luca Brecel 9-5 in the final. However Gould has had a difficult start to the 2016/17 campaign, failing to progress past the third round in any ranking event since March 2016.

Why has Gould had a poor start to the season?

Excluding walkovers, six of Gould’s last ten defeats have come from opponents ranked outside of the top 50. However this year’s German masters could be critical to the world number 20’s form and his world championship prospects. Breezing through his qualifiers against Sanderson Lam and Craig Steadman, Gould earned himself a Last 32 tie against world number 34 Jamie Jones.

The Welshman has delivered mixed results this season, alternating between strong runs to the quarter-finals, or being knocked out in round one. Therefore it is possible that Gould could see yet another early exit in Berlin if Jones turns up and performs as well as he is capable of.

Could the German Masters be the turning point in Gould's season?

Should Gould win, it seems likely that the first big hitter he would be drawn against is Mark Allen in the quarter-finals, who Gould would fancy his chances against with Allen’s current form. But the German Masters could be just the tournament Gould needs to improve his current fortunes. Having failed to qualify for the following event, the World Grand Prix in Preston, this leaves Gould with only five more ranking events before the world championship in April.

This means only five more opportunities for Gould to break into the top 16, and gain an automatic place in the Last 32. Failing to do so would require Gould to proceed through the qualification rounds in order to reach the Crucible, which could prove difficult for Gould with his current bad luck of being drawn against strong opponents in such early stages.

All eyes will be upon Gould over the coming week and months, not only as defending German Masters champion, but as a player attempting to rediscover the form he is capable of, and carry that with him to the World Championship in April.

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