In a game which swung one way, then the other, the Netherlands earned an opening Group B victory against Germany after Leroy Fer's late winner.
Cor Pot's team looked destined to take the three points at half-time when Adam Maher and Georginio Wijnaldum's superb 38th-minute solo effort put the Jong Oranje in charge. Sebastian Rudy got one back from the spot right after the break, and Lewis Holtby looked to have completed a great comeback before Fer had the final word.
Both coaches predicted an open game at the start of their UEFA European Under-21 Championship journey, yet it was the Netherlands who showed the real adventure early on. Germany's back line rebuffed a flurry of early attacks, but had Bernd Leno to thank for beating away Maher's effort from 12 metres out after the AZ Alkmaar man was picked out well by Kevin Strootman.
The goalkeeper was deceived midway through the half, though, when John slipped in Maher and he hit a swerving shot that arrowed low into the net. Maher then released Luuk de Jong only for Leno to block well, before a moment of magic from Wijnaldum doubled the Dutch lead. The PSV Eindhoven winger received the ball with his back to goal, spun and embarked on a run that took out three opposing defenders before hitting a high drive that Leno palmed into the air, but could not quite stop creeping over the line.
Rudy shot narrowly wide soon after but it was the Netherlands' half. Within a minute of the restart that dominant air was shaken. Substitute Kevin Volland dispossessed Stefan de Vrij, slipped in Lewis Holtby and Jeroen Zoet brought him down. Rudy calmly halved the deficit and Rainer's team were suddenly a different proposition, with Volland a central figure.
The TSV 1860 München forward hit the underside of the bar, and Zoet smothered Christian Clemens' rebound. Holtby brushed the side netting and although Florian Jozefzoon was denied one-on-one with Leno, it was now Germany who were firmly on top. With nine minutes remaining, they broke through, Holtby running across the face of the opposition box and driving low into the bottom corner.
Germany looked likely winners, but Fer came off the bench and after setting his sights with one header, powered in a 90th-minute corner to settle an encounter every bit as entertaining as the teams' coaches predicted.