After falling behind to an early Luka Jovic goal, a new-look Germany finally moved through the gears to earn a draw with an impressive second-half performance. With Leroy Sané on top form, they deserved more.
Germany 1-1 Serbia
(Goretzka 68' - Jovic 12')
Volkswagen Arena, Wolfsburg
Despite a promising start from the hosts, Serbia took a shock lead through Luka Jovic after the in-form Eintracht Frankfurt striker was left unmarked on the edge of the six-yard-box to head home a flicked-on corner.
A goal to the good, the Serbians sat back and invited Germany to break them down, but the unfamiliar German line-up struggled to generate the tempo, width or creativity to create any chances of note, the best chance of the half falling almost accidentally to Timo Werner whose rushed effort was well saved by Marko Dmitrovic.
Otherwise, Ilkay Gündogan was sat deep, Julian Brandt was busy but ineffective and Leroy Sané looked increasingly frustrated. But that all changed in the second half.
Joachim Löw made two changes at the break, one expected as Marc-Andre ter Stegen replaced Manuel Neuer and another which changed the game as Marco Reus replaced Kai Havertz. Gündogan also moved further forwards and suddenly it started to click.
Sané, Marco Reus and Leon Goretzka were all involved in half chances and Gündogan thought he'd equalized after rounding the goalkeeper following a delicate flick from Sané, but Nemanja Maksimovic cleared heroically on the line.
But Germany didn't have to wait long after that and, with just over twenty minutes to play, Goretzka fired them level with a well-aimed effort from the edge of the box.
As full-time edged closer, it looked like there could only be one winner – and that was all down to Sané. As the Serbs tired and lost concentration, the Manchester City winger moved up through the gears, leaving two defenders sprawling in his wake before forcing a point-blank save from Dmitrovic.
Soon after, he was terrorizing the Serbian defense again, driving forward with electrifying pace down the right wing and forcing another save from Dmitrovic, this time low at his near post.
And when Gündogan flicked the ball into Reus' path, the Serbian stopper was called upon again, sprinting off his line and getting to the ball just ahead of the Borussia Dortmund captain.
Such was the pressure that Germany had put them under, Serbia started to flounder. The discipline evaporated and the fouls mounted, culminating in a shocking challenge on Sané in injury time for which Milan Pavkov saw red and for which the Serbian bench apologized to their German counterparts as both sides settled for a draw.
90+4' - Pavkov sees a straight red card for a shocking foul on Leroy Sané, stamping dangerously on the German's ankle. The Man City man is back on his feet but that was an awful challenge, clearly borne of frustration. On the touchline, the Serbian coach apologizes to Joachim Löw and the German bench.
90' Four minutes of added time. Through a combination of fouls and counter-attacks, Serbia have managed to fight their way - literally - back into the game a bit.
78' Gündogan flicks a well-timed ball into Reus but the goalkeeper is quickly off his line and beats the BVB captain to it. A second goal is for Germany is coming, one feels. Because this is a very impressive second half performance.
77' Sané turns on the after-burners again, accelerating down the right wing, cutting inside and firing a low, left-footed shot towards goal - well saved again by Dmitrovic.
75' The latest Germany chance falls to Reus who drags his shot across goal from a fairly tight angle.
74' Germany have been much improved in this second half with Goretzka, Reus and Gündogan able to get the best out of Sané, who has done everything but score so far.
72' Another great save from Dmitrovic to keep Serbia in the game! After clever build-up play involving Gündogan and Reus, Sané leaves two defenders sprawling on the ground with a quick turn but his shot is straight at the goalkeeper.
69' GOAL! Germany 1-1 Serbia (Goretzka)
It's been coming in the second half and now Germany finally have their equalizer. Reus cuts the ball back to the Bayern man who skips around a challenge on the edge of the box before firing an accurate effort past Dmitrovic - great finish.
65' Off the line! After a lightning-fast exchange of passes from Manchester City teammates Sané and Gündogan, the latter rounds the goalkeeper and looks to slide the ball over the line - but midfielder Maksimovic comes flying back to clear heroically off the line for Serbia. The best move of the game and a clearance to match.
62' A clinical move from Germany down the left. Halstenberg plays a firm pass inside to Werner who immediately lays the ball off to Sané inside the box - but he's a yard offside.
59' Reus dribbles and jinks his way into the box and gets a powerful shot away but Dmitrovic saves at point-blank range. The resulting corner is cleared to Halstenberg who fires high and wide.
57' Sané with a burst of pace and a return pass with Goretzka but the Man City winger is faced up by two Serbian defenders and he can only win a corner - which is cleared as far as Reus who fires over.
55' Substitution for Germany: Julian Brandt is replaced by Leon Goretzka
48' A reminder early in this second half that Serbia know what they're doing on the counter-attack, especially when left unmarked on the edge of the box as Lazovic was just now. Fortunately for Germany, he miscues completely.
47' Reus, in a free role behind Werner, immediately involved, looking to find the RB Leipzig man in the box but the pass is intercepted.
46' SECOND HALF: We're back underway!
Two changes for Germany:
- Ter Stegen replaces Neuer (as expected)
- Reus replaces Havertz
HALF-TIME: Germany 0-1 Serbia (Jovic 12')
40' Huge chance for Serbia! Ljajic is completely unmarked in the German box but somehow puts the ball over from 12 yards. That really should have been 2-0.
37' How did that stay out!? Germany finally get to the by-line where Klostermann steers the ball across goal. The ball falls to Werner in front of goal. The striker adjusts his body quickly but Dmitrovic is out quickly, making himself big, and saves brilliantly.
34' Klostermann's cross evades everyone on its way across the face of goal.
32' Sané throws himself to ground in the box when surrounded by three Serbian defenders, one of whom got just enough contact on the ball - but Sané was going nowhere there.
29' After a promising dribble from Sané, Werner's low cross is easily cleared, but at least there was a little bit more tempo in that Germany attack.
25' Serbia come forward on the break with Rukavina and Jovic receives the ball in the box but Klostermann slides in at the last minute to block the shot! Almost 2-0 to the visitors!
22' Gündogan presses his opponent in midfield and the ball falls to Havertz who immediately feeds Werner, but the RB striker is put under pressure by his marker and his weak shot is easily stopped by the goalkeeper's foot. Good pressing by Gündogan.
15' One corner, one chance, one goal - an efficient start from the Serbs! They've sat back again since the goal - can this young Germany team find a way to break them down?
12' GOAL! Germany 0-1 Serbia (Jovic)
And Germany have paid the price for not converting that good start into a goal. Serbia win a corner following their first foray forwards, the ball is flicked on somewhat fortunately at the front post and Niklas Süle, already pushing out, leaves Luka Jovic unmarked on the edge of the six-yard-box. The Eintracht Frankfurt man, of course, makes no mistake, and Serbia lead!
9' A good move involving Sané on the left wing sees the Man City man find Werner in the center but the RB Leipzig striker can't take his chance.
7' A positive start from Germany with lots of possession and slick forward passing.
3' Gündogan sends a pin-point ball out to Halstenberg, advanced on the left wing. His cross is stabbed goalwards by Havertz but the Serbian goalkeeper is well placed to save.
Germany get proceedings underway in Wolfsburg, kicking from left to right in their traditional white strips. Serbia are in all red.
"We can't expect miracles from what is essentially a new team," says Joachim Löw pitch-side, also confirming that Marc-André ter Stegen will replace Manuel Neuer in goal in the second half.
Club or country?
After a four-month break, international football is finally back! But not everyone is too thrilled. When the national team arrived in Wolfsburg, representatives from the German football association (DFB) were met with dozens of less-than-complimentary banners hung across the city as local fans continued the wave of protests in German football.
Long time, no see
This is the first time these two nations have met since the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, when Lukas Podolski missed a penalty and Miroslav Klose was sent off for Germany, as Serbia won 1-0.
Let's hope for a better result tonight, eh?
Serbia team news
Mijat Gacinovic and Luka Jovic - both of Eintracht Frankfurt - start in attack for Serbia. With 22 goals in all competitions this season for the Eagles, 21-year-old Jovic will pose a serious threat to Germany's young defense this evening.
The back four tasked with stopping him? Marcel Halstenberg, Jonathan Tah, Niklas Süle and the aforementioned Klostermann, with Joshua Kimmich and Ilkay Gündogan sat in front.
Germany team news
RB Leipzig's Lukas Klostermann makes his debut at full-back while Kai Havertz, Julian Brandt and Leroy Sané line up behind Timo Werner in attack in what looks like a 4-2-3-1 formation. Is this the new Germany? We shall see.
Guten Abend! Welcome to DW's live coverage of Germany's international friendly against Serbia
After Joachim Löw announced the shock exclusions of Thomas Müller, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels from the national team, it's time for a new generation of German talent to take center stage.
Kick-off in Wolfsburg is at 20:45 CET and we should have team news about one hour before that.