The world's football greatest club competition is up and running once again, as the Champions League takes centre stage. It's the most popular club tournament in the world, due to the fact it involves the best club teams in the world.

 The likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Juventus are all involved in the latter stages.

Yes, theses are all football clubs with huge resources, who can attract the best players and coaches in the world. With the money Barcelona have spent on attracting players such as Neymar and Luis Suarez, it's little surprise they are favourites to retain the trophy they won last season.

However, many of the teams competing in the knockout stages of the Champions League have one thing in common and it may not be quite what you expect.

Training Rebounder

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Yes, many of the teams in last 16 of the Champions League, are using training rebounders in their daily sessions. Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea, are three examples. So why are the top European clubs using this innovative piece of equipment to train their players? Well, rebounders are used as a way to automatically return the ball to players at varying degrees of velocity, angle and height. This helps improve the technique of individual players, as they learn how to control a ball that is returned to them. If implemented from a young age, the rebounder can have a significant impact on the ability of a player, to deal with a ball as it approaches them.

Arsenal, who are currently in the midst of a two leg tie with Barcelona in the Champions League, have been using a football rebounder to train their youth players. We all know who proud Arsene Wenger is, when it comes to bringing through young players at Arsenal, players who are technically very gifted. The rebounder is helping to shape these young Arsenal players, in to becoming the Champions League stars of tomorrow.

It's not only outfield players who can benefit from a rebounder. Goalkeepers have also been using them as a way to test their reflexes.This makes the rebounder, a very versatile piece of equipment. Thankfully, rebounders are easily accessible to any football club, whatever the level of play. Therefore, it's possible for amateur teams as well as those in the football league, to train like the top players at the great Champions League clubs.

When you are watching Bayern Munich's players control and pass the ball against Juventus, it's not only down to raw talent, it's also training. In the first leg, the German team dominated possession of the football for much of the match, including the majority of the first half. One of the reasons they are able to do this so successfully, is each player has the ability to receive the ball at different speeds, angles and heights, when under pressure. This comes through training and the rebounder is perfect when training players, so they can deal with the ball, whatever the circumstances are as they receive it.

As you watch the Champions League tournament unfold over the coming months, take a minute to think about how the players have trained. Which teams and players do you think have been using a rebounder?