Per Mertesacker
Mertesacker headed home six minutes before half time.

Germany condemned England to back-to-back friendly defeats after Per Mertesacker's first half header secured victory in a drab encounter at Wembley.

Mertesacker thundered a header past Joe Hart from Toni Kross' cross on 39 minutes to secure a 14th win over England in a game of few chances.

Andros Townsend struck the post from range but the hosts failed to test debutant Roman Weidenfeller in the German goal as Roy Hodgson's side followed Friday's defeat to Chile with another uninspiring display.

After drawing with Italy, Joachim Low had opted to rest a number of high-profile players including Manuel Neuer, Phillipe Lahm and Mesut Ozil while Miroslav Klose and Sami Khedira were both absent through injury.

Borussia Dortmund's Weidenfeller won a maiden cap in goal while Arsenal defender Mertesacker started as captain alongside Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng.

Captain Steven Gerrard returned for England to win his 108th cap and equal Bobby Moore's appearance record, amid nine changes made by manager Hodgson from the loss to Chile.

Daniel Sturridge came through a thigh complaint to partner Wayne Rooney in attack, with Southampton's Adam Lallana the only other survivor from last week's defeat. Hart also returned to the first team having missed the last five games for club and country.

The home side began anything but in awe of a country described by many as the superpower of European football in the modern age, with Townsend showing glimpses of giving Marcel Schmelzer an evening to forget while Ashley Cole was providing England with decent balance upon being restored to left-back.

Germany's depleted resources hadn't prevented them from fielding a fearsome attacking trio behind Max Kruse, with Mario Gotze, Kroos and Marco Reus all included, but none of them produced the energy required in early exchanges.

Both sides were guilty of a lackluster first half during which efforts on goal were non-existent before a spate of England corners did see Phil Jagielka head over from a tight angle.

The visitors had offered no better but after forcing a corner following Lars Bender's blocked shot, they hit the front six minutes before the break after Mertesacker, who had earlier been denied by Hart, powered a second header home from Kroos' cross.

Gerrard did rattle the roof of the net in the twilight of the half but the effort did little to enlighten a turgid first 45 minutes, however the start of the second period, amid a host of changes from either side, provided encouragement for a more entertaining half.

Germany should really have doubled their lead with minutes of the restart when Gotze beat Jagielka, and though the Everton defender tackled back, he inadvertently fed Reus whose effort was stunned by Hart.

Reus was put through again this time by Kruse only to waste the opportunity and before long England were seeking to make inroads, with Townsend striking the post with a cracking long-range drive.

The evening continued to work as an opportunity for redemption for Hart, despite a collision with Chris Smalling, as the Manchester City stopper dived full length to deny Gotze as Germany threatened to put the game out of sight.

Substitute Sidney Sam lifted wide to give England hope of a late revival but Hodgson's side continued to fail to test Weidenfeller in the Germany goal and as the travelling support provided an ironic rendition of "Football's Coming Home" the full time whistle sounded to provide a grim reminder of the hopes of Hodgson's current side.