Miroslav Klose hit a hat-trick to deny Finland a surprise win in Group 4 and salvage a 3-3 draw for Germany in Helsinki.
The hosts took the lead three times but each time they were pegged back by Klose, who took his international scoring tally to 44 goals in 85 appearances.
Germany had hammered Liechtenstein 6-0 in their opening 2010 World Cup qualifier on Saturday but fell behind to a 33rd-minute strike by Jonatan Johansson, which sparked a frenetic finish to the first half.
Klose equalised five minutes later and although Mika Vayrynen restored the Finns' lead in the 43rd minute, Klose levelled again on the stroke of half-time.
Daniel Sjolund had replaced Mikael Forssell in the 41st minute and within 12 minutes had put Finland 3-2 up.
Stuart Baxter's men looked on course for a famous victory as they remained in front deep into the second half, only for Klose to strike again and seal his treble seven minutes from time.
Azerbaijan had a great chance to claim their first win in eight qualifiers as they hosted fellow minnows Liechtenstein, still reeling from their 6-0 thumping by Germany.
However, Berti Vogts' men were unable to break down the visitors and were held to a 0-0 draw.
A crumb of comfort for the Azeris is that they put an end to a five-match losing streak in qualifiers.
Earlier, a late Pavel Pogrebnyak strike gave Russia a 2-1 home win against Wales in the other Group 4 match.