Ronald Koeman's men had seemed certain to finish second behind France in Group 1 of League A when Timo Werner's first worldwide goal since June and Leroy Sane's second in as many outings had Germany coasting.
A Virgil van Dijk goal in the 91st minute of the game gave the Netherlands a much-need 2-2 draw against Germany on Monday night, propelling the Dutch into the semi-finals of the Uefa Nations League.
The Dutch side, which had been underperforming for several years and missed the summer's World Cup jamboree in Russian Federation, came into Group A1 as heavy underdogs, facing France and Germany, the winners of the last two World Cups.
Back-to-back wins and clean sheets in the UEFA Nations League against Germany and France had left the Dutch in a great position in their group and set up a thrilling match against the former away in Gelsenkirchen.
Trailing 2-0 to Germany until the final, the Dutch side completed a remarkable late comeback as Quincy Promes netted one and Van Dijk volleyed in a brilliant equaliser. But they did not and we will still come back.
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The last time we played in Brisbane and not Perth. "It won't be easy but we have some quality in our group". I will do the same on Wednesday. "I've done well in limited-overs but the challenge is red-ball cricket".
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"When we were 2-0 down they asked me if we should change things around and I said yes".
Assistant coach Dwight Lodeweges scribbled down a teamsheet with captain Van Dijk up front alongside Luuk de Jong and it turned out to be an absolute masterstroke.
Germany head coach Joachim Low should step down and allow "new blood" to assume leadership of the national team, former Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has suggested, though the 2014 World Cup victor is assured of his place in the history books.
Koeman insisted that he waited until the final minutes to use the tactic as he didn't want to concede more goals at 2-0 down.
"This is a learning experience for us and we will have to analyse our performance in the last 10 minutes. It's a little bit disappointing", Sane said. However, the boost to their morale didn't last long, because the Dutch victory over France 24 hours later doomed the Germans to relegation.