Dortmund playmaker deputised superbly for Mesut Ozil while Neymar scored a late goal for the visitors, but his strike was not enough to spare the Samba Stars a defeatGermany ended an 18-year winless streak against Brazil as they earned a 3-2 victory over the South American giants in Stuttgart.
The hosts controlled the majority of possession over the course of the match, but it took an hour for them to open the scoring. Toni Kroos won a penalty from Lucio and Bastian Schweinsteiger made no mistake as he converted from the spot. Mario Gotze, who made his first start for country, added a second on 67 minutes as he latched onto Kroos' through ball before rounding Julio Cesar and slotting home.
Despite their disadvantage, the South Americans would not go down without a fight. Just four minutes after the second goal, Philipp Lahm conceded a penalty to Dani Alves, and Robinho tucked his spot kick inside the left post.
The hosts would not be denied their win, however, and restored their lead in the 80th minute through Andre Schurrle. Schweinsteiger muscled Andre Santos off the ball near the edge of the penalty area, and cut back for the unmarked Leverkusen man, who fired an unstoppable finish into the net.
The visitors attempted to mount a comeback in the closing minutes, but were only able to break through deep into injury time. Neymar cut inside from the left and unleashed an impressive low drive into the corner, but it was too late for Brazil to complete their fightback.
Germany dominated the possession from the start and it only took six minutes for the hosts to carve out their first chance. Gotze skilfully took a cross off his chest, made space from Andre Santos and fired on goal, but Julio Cesar made a superb save.
For all their possession, the DFB team had trouble creating opportunities against a Brazil side that was well organised in defence. Kroos was the most dangerous man for the hosts, having one long-ranged attempt saved, and a pair of blasts narrowly miss the target.
Brazil relied primarily on counterattacking football and had several occasions in which they were able to burst through the midfield. However, they were largely unable to beat the German backline. Only on the stroke of half-time did Neymar create space to shoot as he ran into the right side of the box. The Santos man fired wide of the far post, however.
Brazil were a better team in the second half and nearly opened the scoring through Pato early on, but the Milan forward chipped wide of the post when through on goal. The visitors often found themselves in the attacking third and won a number of corners, but were caught out after leaving open space at the back. When given the chance, the Germans attacked this space ruthlessly and their fire-power proved superior on the night.
The result will be an encouraging one for a Germany side that have struggled in recent friendly matches. Following their dismal run at the Copa America, Brazil will have to continue to refine their game under Mano Menezes.