Their chances depended on the results of the other match. Kim Young Gwon turned in a lucky drop as Kroos tried to toe poke the ball away to safety from a corner.
But there were goals to come at the other end, and the first was awarded the help of VAR.
But he was caught out as a long ball left Tottenham forward Son with the simple task of walking the ball into the net to spark jubilant celebrations among the Asian side, even though their elimination had already been confirmed.
Germany fans react after the match at a public viewing area at Brandenburg Gate.
The Mannscaft according to bookmakers' were expected to beat South Korea and progress from Group F.
After the goal, Germany had to commit practically everything for the equalizer but at the cost of leaving no one behind-including goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Leon Goretzka, who led Germany's midfield brilliantly at the Confederations Cup a year ago, Niklas Suele, Julian Brandt and Sebastian Rudy are only given their chance when Loew's first-choice stars are suspended or injured. And none more so than for Germany.
Germany urgency was not matched by their normal efficiency and soon legs started to tire. In Russia, Germany's famed midfield of Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil, Marco Reus and Leon Goretzka failed to work as a unit depriving Thomas Mueller and Timo Werner up front.
Having surprisingly 1-0 lost to Mexico in their opening match in Russian Federation and then required a 95th-minute strike from Toni Kroos to overcome Sweden 2-1, the Bayern Munich centre-back acknowledged they have not been at their best for a long time.
"It's too soon for me to answer, it will take a few hours to see things clearly, the disappointment is very deep in me", 58-year Low when asked if he will resign.
"How we go from here is something we have to talk about", he said.
"I thought we could use that as a reverse strategy and that has really hit the nail on the head".
German defender Mats Hummels said after the match, "It's very very hard to put it into words".
"We had plenty of opportunities, we broke our necks trying out there today", he added.
Germany qualified for Russian Federation with a ideal record of ten wins, but Hummels said the last time the team played well was when they wrapped up qualification late past year.
"This is something for us to reckon with", Low said after the game.
One of the pre-tournament favourites going into the World Cup, Germany were brought back down to reality in the first game as they were shocked 1-0 by Mexico thanks to a goal from Hirving Lozano.