Low shocked German football earlier this month when announcing the FIFA World Cup-winning trio were no longer in his plans, and while Goretzka’s goal avoided defeat in Wolfsburg, the defensive performance suggested Hummels and Boateng could still be of use.
Germany's new-look back four held firm for just 12 minutes, as Barcelona-linked Luka Jovic nodded in from close range, with Serbia looking the more threatening for the majority of the first half.
The host coped better with Serbia's ability on the break in the final 30 minutes and were deserving of their equaliser courtesy of Goretzka, though it was unable to find a winner despite the late dismissal of Milan Pavkov.
Germany started brightly and controlled the early proceedings only for Serbia to find the net with the first attempt on target – Jovic expertly steering a header beyond Manuel Neuer after a corner fortunately deflected to the in-form Eintracht Frankfurt striker.
Serbia had a narrow escape at the other end eight minute before half-time, goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic somehow blocking Timo Werner's goal-bound effort from point-blank range.
The visitors finished the first half on top, however, with a brilliant counter seeing Darko Lazovic square to the unmarked Adem Ljajic, who carelessly shot over with just Neuer to beat.
Serbia threatened again soon after the break when Lazovic horribly sliced a shot over from the edge of the box.
That miss was punished 21 minute from the end, Goretzka taking up possession inside the area, dodging one defender and firing a shot past Dmitrovic.
Serbia saw substitute Pavkov shown a red card for a studs-up challenge on Leroy Sane, albeit Germany did not have enough time left to take advantage of the extra man.