Murdoch, the 20-year-old who caused a stir in Glasgow last month by beating Michael Jamieson to Commonwealth gold, fended off Jamieson's training partner, Andrew Willis, in the semi-finals having been beaten by him in the morning heats.
Murdoch's stubborn refusal to yield to Willis in the semi-final saw him submit an impressive time of 2min 08.65sec, marginally faster than Marco Koch's winning time of 2:08.83 in the other semi. Tonight's final is likely to be between those three men, with Olympic champion Daniel Gyurta declining to defend his 200m title.
Murdoch was not the only Scot to impress in the German capital on day three of the championships. Stephen Milne may have felt disappointed to be shaded out of the medals as he finished fourth in the 1500m freestyle but he can only have been satisfied with a lifetime best of 14:53.83, the first time he has ducked under 15 minutes.
Cameron Brodie, the third Scot in the British squad, ranked 13th after the semi-finals of the 200m butterfly.