SUPER Mario Gomez fired in a dazzling double to send the fancied Dutch on the brink of a shock Euro 2012 exit.
Having scored the winner against Portugal, the Bayern Munich hotshot was on fire again in Kharkiv with a first-half brace that all but puts the Germans through to the last eight.
Twice Gomez was expertly played through by Bayern team-mate Bastian Schweinsteiger and twice he finished past Maarten Stekelenburg in fine style.
And while Robin van Persie made up for a couple of early misses with a sizzling late strike, it was not enough to save Bert van Marwijk’s men from a second straight defeat.
Holland must now beat Portugal in their final Group B match by two goals or more and hope Germany beat Denmark.
While Joachim Low’s side need just a point against the Danes to guarantee a place in the quarter-finals once again.
With many of the tournament’s big guns failing to fire so far, Van Persie was determined from the off to show just why he was named the Premier League’s player of the year last term.
But as Joris Mathijsen sent a speculative long ball over the head of Mats Hummels early on, the Arsenal hitman tamely hit a free volley straight at German stopper Manuel Neur.
Just a minute later Germany came close as Mezut Ozil latched on to a loose ball and struck a left-footed volley onto the post and into the welcoming arms of Stekelenburg.
The Dutch though were on top and had another chance as Arjen Robben slid in Van Persie who again misfired, this time scuffing his right-footed snap-shot wide from the edge of the box.
Holland continued to attack and Ibrahim Afellay broke in to a dangerous position down the left but wasted the chance with a poor delivery to Van Persie.
And they were soon made to pay for their carelessness in the final third as Germany took the lead with a delightful move made in Munich.
Bayern’s Schweinsteiger cut the Dutch defence open as club-mate Gomez ran on to the ball, turned on the spot and fired past Stekelenburg.
Robben tried to trump his Munich pals with an ambitious effort from range which was hit straight at Neuer.
But it was Germany who were in control after the goal with a Thomas Muller cross just out of reach of Gomez.
They had a golden chance to make it two when an Ozil free-kick found Holger Badstuber completely unmarked who headed it straight at the keeper from four yards out.
But that miss was soon forgotten as Schweinsteiger played in Gomez again on the right and he bent in with precision over the cowering Stekelenburg and into the left side netting.
Holland changed things around at the break, bringing on Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Rafael van der Vaart.
But it was the Germans who again came closest to another as Mats Hummels waltzed all the way up the pitch before firing a low shot which Stekelenburg parried, and then as the defender followed his effort up, did well to palm away.
Van Persie was in no mood be shown up by Gomez in the goalscoring stakes and hit a well struck volley which Neuer was able to turn away.
Wesley Sneijder then suddenly came to life, sending in a dipping 25-yarder which went narrowly wide of Neuer’s far post.
The Inter Milan star then powered another strike at goal which Jerome Boateng bravely blocked away.
But just as Low took off his hero Gomez, Holland finally broke their tournament duck.
And it was that man Van Persie who scored a belter as he picked the ball up midway inside the Germany half and lashed a fierce right-footed drive into Neuer’s left corner.
Robben showed his dissent at being subbed for Dirk Kuyt late on as he vaulted the advertising boards at the far side.
And the World Cup finalists failed to create any real late pressure to leave them facing an uphill battle to get out of Group B.
Holland: Stekelenburg, Van Der Wiel, Heitinga, Mathijsen, Willems, Nigel De Jong, Van Bommel (Van der Vaart 46), Robben (Kuyt 83), Sneijder, Afellay (Huntelaar 46), Van Persie. Subs Not Used: Vorm, Bouma, Vlaar, Schaars, Strootman,Luuk De Jong, Narsingh, Boulahrouz, Krul.
Booked: Nigel De Jong,Willems.
Goals: Van Persie 73.
Germany: Neuer, Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm, Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Muller (Bender 90), Ozil (Kroos 81), Podolski, Gomez (Klose 72). Subs Not Used: Wiese, Gundogan, Schmelzer, Howedes, Schurrle, Mertesacker, Gotze, Reus, Zieler.
Goals: Gomez 24, 38.
Ref: Jonas Eriksson (Sweden).